Ybor City business owner says 7th Avenue vandalism ignored after Rays stadium deal goes bust

Graffiti along 7th Avenue turns off business owners, tourists
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 03, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa business owners say vandalism in Ybor City have gotten worse after the city's deal with the Tampa Bay Rays' new stadium went bust.

"You have to walk by it," said Ybor City business owner Carrie West.

It's not a door you'd want to walk into either. Graffiti and a bullet hole spotted on a 7th Avenue storefront in Tampa's famous tourist district.

“No. You can't afford to have anything like this,” said West when I asked if the vandalism would be be here if the Tampa Bay Rays baseball stadium deal was still a "go."

PHOTOS: Vandalism in Ybor City worsens after Rays stadium deal goes bust

West says once the stadium deal fizzled, the vandalism seemed to get worse and no one is cleaning it up.

“Yeah, this gets you mad,” said West.

RELATED: Rays 'not close at all' to Ybor City stadium, will likely play at Tropicana Field through 2027

Now you see a handful of empty storefronts vandalized with graffiti.

"Before that there was so many multiple owners all the way through here, meaning that there were small businesses, small buildings, but now it's just, there's just a certain conglomerate that just buying up everything, doesn't matter how big it is,” said West.

"It's definitely disrespectful," said Alicia White who was strolling 7th Avenue with her parents and taking photos.

It's a turnoff for locals like White who grew up visiting Ybor City but doesn’t feel safe here at night.

"There was a lot of money that was coming the area to clean it up and now that those hopes are gone, some of that flow is maybe stopped,” said White.

West blames the city and property owners for not taking care of Tampa's pride and joy.

"We're having a huge, high-end hotel across the street, but guess what, you have this across the street. Look at! Here we are, markings. All the way down the side of the building,” said West.