PERSONAL INJURY LAW
LIFE & THE LAW
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A SPECIAL MOMENT IN OUR EVER-CHANGING CITY The Perfect Time to Be in Tampa
W e tend to think of cities as places with a static set of features. New York is the “city that never sleeps,” Hollywood is Tinseltown, and so on. While some traits express the essence of a city, which may remain constant throughout the eras, the truth is that the character and personality of a city changes all the time. Right now in Tampa, things are changing pretty fast, but I truly believe there’s been no better time to live where we do. I feel pretty confident in saying this because I’m not a newcomer to the city. I’ve been here for nearly 30 years at this point. In fact, I was born here, but I have no recollection of my earliest days in Tampa. At the time, my dad was dean of students at the University of South Florida, back in the days when it was a tiny speck of a school. Before I was old enough to have a functioning sense of direction, we relocated to South Florida. Dad always talked about Tampa, and as a result, it became a place I envisioned in my mind often. I don’t know what I thought Tampa would be like, but it felt like the big city to me.
Of course, when I came back here in 1990, Tampa wasn’t all that urban at all. Some people may get irked when I say this, but back then, it was a glorified small town. It was a place where you knew your local 7-Eleven employees by name, and even if you didn’t know them, you could expect to be greeted with a warm and welcoming, “How are you today?” That sense of charm and familiarity is still here today, but it’s been seasoned with an increasingly metropolitan mix of infrastructure, real estate, and culture. If you asked me around the turn of the century if I’d bet on Tampa having a vibrant, walkable downtown in my lifetime, I probably would’ve
laughed. In those days, the country seemed only to grow more suburban and sprawling. Following a concerted effort to develop downtown community living, though, Tampa now has a sense of excitement and, dare I say, coolness that it never had before. We may not have the college town vibe of Gainesville, the political clout of Tallahassee, or the national renown of Miami, but I think our city is just as fun as any of those places. To live in a place that seems to get better all the time and to be able to service its community are things I don’t take for granted. I say we’re in a perfect moment because we still retain much of that small town charm that was here when I arrived. As the population grows, there’s always a risk of the city growing more anonymous and overwhelming, but I don’t really expect our streets to look like Times Square anytime soon. Who knows what years down the road look like, but for the time being and for the foreseeable future, Tampa is a wonderful place to be.
“We may not have the college town vibe of Gainesville, the political clout of Tallahassee, or the national renown of Miami, but I think our city is just as fun as any of those places. To live in a place that seems to get better all the time and to be able to service its community are things I don’t take for granted.”
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