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eNews Issue 2011.9

from BOB HUNTER, FAICP, Executive Director 

A Celebration of the Products of Planning

Robert B. Hunter, FAICP


For the past 29 years, the Planning Commission has been celebrating the very best in planning and design in building and development projects throughout Hillsborough County with our Annual Community Design Awards Program.  Last Thursday night, April 21st, at Maestro's at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the Planning Commission presented Awards of Merit, Excellence, and Outstanding Contribution to the Community to recipients whose projects contribute more than aesthetics, but actually improve the quality of life in our communities. 


The capacity crowd included elected officials from Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City and Hillsborough County, dedicated citizens, and project teams anxious to find out what our jury thought of their entries.  Thank you again to our judges - Kathie Ebaugh, AICP; Mary Kay Peck, FAICP; and Merle Bishop, FAICP - who did an outstanding job carefully considering all of our entries.


We started the awards presentations with this video, highlighting why we are "Feeling Good" about Hillsborough County:


"Feeling Good" about Hillsborough County

(music by Michael Buble)



Brendan McLaughlin

A special thank you to our master of ceremonies, ABC Action News Anchor Brendan McLaughlin


View photos from the event.


Smart planning as an investment in our communities today and in the future was a recurring theme as exemplary products of planning were were applauded in various categories, including:


   ·  master planning & urban design

   ·  institutional & public/quasi-public

   ·  urban infill & small business

   ·  historic preservation & restoration

   ·  sustainability & environment

   ·  public participation


The value of citizen activism combined with good long-range planning that includes healthy debate has resulted in each of the four governments being able to continue to implement their vision.  And, I was pleased to give special recognition to two projects that exemplify the dedication, partnerships and relationships that motivate with their results public participation in planning.


In these extremely difficult fiscal times, it's important to continue to recognize quality work and values that improve the quality of life in our communities.  But, it was also important that we run this program at no public expense.  Thank you to our event sponsors who helped to make this possible:


HDR logoTECO logo Wade Trim logo 

Sun Coast Section of the Florida Chapter of the

American Planning Association


Congratulations to all of the award winners! (full listing below)


Over the past 29 years, there have been many quality products of good planning submitted.  This year's entries were particularly representative of the true diversity within Hillsborough County.  From citizens taking an active role in achieving public ownership of 1280 acres of natural treasure in northeastern Hillsborough... to an awe-inspiring children's museum located on a riverside park in the heart of Downtown... to energy-saving buildings and smart master plans that will, by their example, encourage better planning products that improve our quality of life.   I am proud of the rich history of the Planning Commission's Community Design Awards, as it continues to recognize that good planning decisions made today will make Hillsborough County more globally competitive and a place we are proud to call home for generations to come. 


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In This Issue
A Celebration of the Products of Planning
Watch our Purpose & Vision Video
Take a Survey
29th Annual Community Design Award Winners
What's Going On


5/6   8:15 am

 Partnering for the Future Workshop


5/9   2:00 pm

Planning Commission Meeting


5/10   6:15 pm

Keystone-Odessa Community Plan Meeting


5/17   7:00 pm

imagine2035 Town Call


5/24   6:00 pm

Balm Community Plan Advisory Committee


For more information on meetings and events, please visit our website:




Missed An Issue? 

Catch up with past issues of
The Weekly Planner:

Watch Our Video

Planning Commission Purpose & Vision video

Planning Commission

Purpose & Vision


Take a Survey:


       imaging2035 logo 
Planning Commission 29th Annual Community Design Awards Winners

Temple Terrace Multimodal Transportation District & Design Guidelines

Award of Outstanding Contribution to the Community in Master Planning

& Urban Design to the City of Temple Terrace, PBS&J, and Jacobs for the Temple Terrace Multimodal Transportation District

& Design Guidelines


Established in 2009 as the first city-wide multi-modal district in the state of Florida, this innovative project resulted from several planning efforts to create a pedestrian friendly environment, served with a network of sidewalks, bike paths, and transit, complimented by on-site pedestrian oriented development.  A pay-as-you-go strategy was devised to be able to pay for improvements without regardless of outside funding support.  And, urban design guidelines were created to meet comprehensive plan goals to achieve the Temple Terrace community vision.  The judges were so impressed with the City of Temple Terrace for acting as a champion to improve the quality of life for Temple Terrace residents with an efficient and accessible transportation network. 

Encore aerial


Outstanding Contribution to the Community awarded to the Tampa Housing Authority and Bank of America Merrill Lynch for the Master Plan of Encore


The product of a unique public - private partnership between the Tampa Housing Authority and the Bank of America Community Development Corporation, Encore's 28-acre site located between downtown Tampa and Ybor City is being completely transformed as a LEED-ND Certified, mixed-use, transit oriented community.  At full build-out, the $450 million project will provide workforce housing, senior and market-rate residential units, 200 hotel rooms, a grocery store, office and retail space, a public middle school, an African-American history museum, public parks and gathering spaces.  The judges were impressed Encore continues to move forward through these challenging economic times and said, "This project does it all from the master planning perspective."


Zack Street Promenade of the Arts logoAward of Merit presented to Graham-Booth Landscape Architecture and the

City of Tampa for the Zack Street Promenade of the Arts


This project, designed to transform this district into an urban destination space, will complete Downtown Tampa's Cultural Arts District.  Stakeholders including adjoining property owners, museums and theaters, the Downtown Partnership, the City of Tampa design departments and the general public inspired the long-range vision to accommodate mixed uses, visual and performing arts, low-energy lighting and, innovative environmental design solutions. This design concept will serve as a prototype for Tampa's Downtown urban corridors as engaging places for people while enhancing mobility for vehicles and pedestrians alike.  Our judges were on board with the good planning principles, community linkage and placing pedestrians at the top of project priorities.

Glazer Children's Museum


Award of Outstanding Contribution to the Community to the Glazer Children's Museum, Gould Evans & J.O. DeLotta and Son


The Glazer Children's Museum is 53,000 square feet that emphasizes the joy of learning in an environmentally sensitive design.  The museum includes three levels of exhibit spaces for permanent and traveling exhibits, a striking entrance lobby, two classrooms, an art lab, and can host large banquets and events upwards of 300 seated guests.  These spaces and a rooftop terrace offer dramatic views of Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park, Downtown Tampa and the University of Tampa.  The judges were excited that this was not only the ultimate kids' museum on the inside, but also about its visual contribution completing the Downtown Tampa landscape on the outside.


Sykes Chapel meditation garden

The University of Tampa, tvs design & Peter R. Brown Construction received an Award of Merit for the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values


Conceived in response to The University of Tampa's commitment to the holistic development of its students as part of a well-rounded education, the newly-constructed chapel/center serves the student population and the Tampa/Hillsborough County community through programming and community-building designed to foster self-awareness; an understanding of world religions; character building; and values and spiritual development.  The judges praised the beautiful tie-in with nature and outdoor space, viewing the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values as an inspirational use of campus community space inside and out.  


Award of Excellence in the Urban Infill category going to Hardin Construction Company, Mercury Advisors and Urban Studio Architects for Grand Central at Kennedy Grand Central at Kennedy


A unique 1.4 million square foot mixed-use development spanning two city blocks in downtown Tampa's Channelside District, Grand Central at Kennedy's design responds to the neighborhood's unique pedestrian nature with open courtyards, wide sidewalks, walk-up street level retail and community art facilities, office space and residential units.  The sleek, modern façade with large expanses of glass recalls the industrial/warehouse aesthetic of the district.  The judges called Grand Central at Kennedy the ultimate urban infill project and a model for new urban density in this emerging downtown residential area.


Award of Excellence in the Urban Infill & Small Business category presented to the Howard-Gray Building, Elements and J.O. DeLotta and Sons


Set in the West Tampa Overlay District, the 9,000 square foot Howard-Gray Building houses two medical clinics and one retail space.  Across Howard Avenue from the Fort Homer Hesterly National Guard Armory, the building design and orientation to the street maintains the neighborhood fabric.  The structure further complements the historic neighborhood by looking to the cigar factories and other significant landmarks of West Tampa for its inspiration.


Ella's American Folk Art CafeAward of Excellence in the Urban Infill & Small Business categories to Melissa Deming, Don Deming, and Charles T. Kitzmiller, Architect for Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe 


Located on Nebraska Avenue in Tampa, Ella's is an independent, neighborhood-friendly restaurant with an eclectic menu, imaginative art, and great music.  It was designed from the ground up to aesthetically fit into the historic district of Seminole Heights while still meeting the constraints of current code.  Ella's American Folk Art Café can be seen as a model for new form-based zoning regulations.  This entry was music to the judges ears.  High notes included amazing care of the property's oak trees and going above and beyond to mix up a recipe for more than great food, but also to be a catalyst for community sense of place.

 Layla's House

Public Participation category Award of Excellence presented

to the Tampa Area Metropolitan YMCA, Benson Worley Architecture Studio, and Larosa Civil Design for Layla's House 


Two years ago the Tampa YMCA pulled together a team of partners that could offer a comprehensive plan for success in Sulphur Springs.  Layla's House, located at the corner of Eskimo and 15th Streets, is the critical early childhood component of the Sulphur Springs "pipeline to success." The pipeline is part of the Neighborhood of Promise initiative, providing resources for children from birth through college or career. Their goal is to eradicate poverty through education.  The judges saw the perseverance of this group, and praised this project for its responsiveness to community participation in its development.


Public Participation category Award of Merit for the

Brandon Community Plan and Greater Brandon

Community Plan Working Committee


The citizens of the Greater Brandon Area wanted to achieve a legally enforceable vision for their future that would keep the unique character and accommodate emerging growth patterns in the area.  The aspirational goals of past planning efforts, most notably The Brandon Main Street Plan, were important to the community, as was the desire to harness their economic assets including the area's proximity to CSX rail lines and the Port of Tampa.  The citizens also wanted to reduce traffic and preserve sensitive environmental habitats by encouraging linkages, while also protecting residents' property rights.  The citizens worked with Hillsborough County and Planning Commission planners to use smart growth strategies and transit oriented development incentives to develop a plan to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of the Greater Brandon community.  The judges applauded this community building effort inspired by its citizens.


Award of Merit in environmental projects awarded to the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department, Southwest Florida Water Management District Surface Water Improvement and Management Section and Moffatt & Nichol for the Riverside Garden Park - Shoreline Restoration and Stabilization


Riverside Garden Park is a long, linear park located on a bend on the west bank of the Hillsborough River in Tampa. This shoreline has taken a beating over the years from boat wake.  Significant erosion had toppled live oTampa Longshore Bar projectaks into the river and erased park land well-used by the local neighborhood.  The City of Tampa and SWFWMD Surface Water Improvement and Management Section teamed up to address the erosion problem by creating a shoreline that would filter stormwater run-off and offer a habitat for native birds and animals.  The judges appreciated that this project can be replicated for communities facing similar challenges.



Award of Merit in environmental category presented to the Tampa Port Authority, Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Arcadis-Malcolm Pirnie for the Tampa Longshore Bar Project


Seagrass recovery has been clearly defined as a major goal in Tampa Bay, acknowledging that very significant seagrass losses have been recorded since the 1950s.  The Tampa Port Authority is actively engaged with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and eleven key partner agencies in a meaningful environmental program to encourage seagrass recovery through the creation of wave-attenuating longshore bars.  After thorough research and design, a sustainable, 950-foot long artificial bar system was constructed to promote seagrass recovery.  The long-term goal is to restore 50 acres of seagrass in Hillsborough Bay. The judges were impressed that this innovative solution could have implications for the entire Tampa Bay area and beyond.  


Learning Gate Community SchoolAward of Excellence in the Sustainability & Environmental categories presented to the

Learning Gate Community School and Patti Girard


It only takes one visit to Learning Gate Community School in Lutz to realize you've stepped into a school like no other. Nestled among trees, wetlands, and ponds, the campus and curriculum of this environmental charter school are testimony to an integrated approach to education.  Students at Learning Gate embark on a journey fueled by a commitment to green building and sustainable living.  This is the nation's first public school to be awarded Platinum Designation by the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Schools program.  "Nature is our Best Teacher" is the motto for a program built around the environment as the context for all learning areas.  Students and community members have opportunities to interact and explore their environment in a variety of ways.  The judges all agreed they wanted to attend this school and loved its holistic approach that will actually make a difference in our community by integrating environmental stewardship into the learning process. 


Award of Excellence in Sustainability for the Infinitus Renewable Energy Park to Imperium Energy;

Fowler, White, Boggs; and the Genesis Group


The Infinitus Renewable Energy Park is an approved, large-scale Renewable Energy Production, Industrial and Research project being developed on a 3,000 acre former phosphate mining site in eastern Hillsborough County.  Not only will it generate renewable power and products, but also, it will stimulate the Tampa Bay Area economy by creating hundreds of quality full-time jobs.  And by promoting innovative research in sustainable technologies and uses and collaborate with regional educational institutions, it will help perpetuate long-term growth and success in the sustainable energy fields and industries.  Throughout the planning process, the Infinitus Renewable Energy Park team got lots of input and worked hand-in-hand with the local community to consciously integrate this project into the area.  The judges were impressed at how responsive this team was to what the public had to say.


Team Florida Zero Energy House

A Students in Planning Entry received an Award of Merit in the Sustainability category presented to Team Florida for the Zero Energy House Learning Center also called "The Flex House"


Team Florida consists of students and faculty from USF, the University of Florida, FSU, and the UCF, as well as Hees and Associates.  The Zero Energy House Learning Center is a modular building system that can adapt to different site and plan configurations.  The Flex House will be a high visibility project at the 9th largest university in the Unites States, showcasing USF and the state of Florida's commitment to energy efficiency.  This facility will be a public learning center of sustainable technologies and design, exhibiting the design, engineering and construction innovation of Florida's state universities.  At a broader scale, the facility will serve as a demonstration to public utilities commissioners of how such buildings could influence Florida's energy future.  The judges loved this collaborative approach to teaching, and we all look forward to seeing the Flex House built.


Award of Excellence in the Historic Preservation & Restoration category presented to the Ybor Property Group, Ferrell Redevelopment and the Beck Group for the San Souci Building on 7th Avenue


Over the past 100 years, the San Souci Building has been a grocery store, the San Souci Theater, a department store, and a furniture store. Built in the early 1900's, the building had fallen to a debilitated state.  Located within the National Historic Landmark District, the building underwent extensive historic restoration in line with the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Historic Rehabilitation.  The Sans Souci Building now serves beautifully as an anchor building and the western gateway to Ybor City.  Its largest tenant is Metropolitan Charities, the largest HIV/ AIDS service organization in West Central Florida. It serves our community with free HIV testing, substance abuse and mental health treatment and education. 


Seminole Garden CenterAward of Merit in Historic Preservation & Restoration

for the Seminole Garden Center on Central Avenue

presented to the City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Department and Contract Administration Department


Fitting right in with the character of its Seminole Heights neighbors, the restored building embraces the park setting, and allows natural light to fill the facility. The facility is now fully ADA accessible. The walking path and passive park allow neighbors to enjoy this space regularly.  The judges liked this project inside and out, calling it "a cool community contribution," because it did more than save this historic building, it tied it in with the neighborhood. 



Kiley Garden RestorationAward of Merit in Historic Preservation & Restoration to the Kiley Garden Restoration by the City of Tampa, RS&H and Skanska USA 


The renovation of Kiley Garden connects the modern plaza to Tampa's growing cultural arts district and preserves this important historic landmark.  The 20-year old garden connected to the new Curtis Hixon Park was designed by the pioneering modernist landscape architect Dan Kiley. Regular geometry lies at the heart of this stunning design.  Like other modernists, Kiley believed that geometry was the structure man could use to gain comprehension and create stabilization of his surroundings.  Preservationists and cultural historians held up this plaza as the poster child for vanishing modern landscapes across the globe.  The revived Kiley Garden once again reflects Dan Kiley's unique vision.  Design solutions included innovative drainage and waterproofing systems to extend the life of the garage while preserving the historic park above.


Executive Directors Award: Cone RanchExecutive Director's Award to Cone Ranch Advisory Committee, ELAPP, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners

& the Citizens of Hillsborough County 


The BOCC several years ago appointed a group of citizens called the Cone Ranch Advisory Committee to look at Cone Ranch land use for permanent protection, preservation and restoration.  Purchased under the ELAPP Program, the Cone Ranch Advisory Committee, along with the BOCC and the citizens, worked together to protect and preserve the 1,280 acres in northeastern Hillsborough County known as  Cone Ranch, its eco-system, and the region's drinking. Our elected officials weighed the benefits and costs in these two cases and made smart growth decisions for our residents, for our environment, and for our quality of life.  



Executive Director's Award to River Watch Task Force & the City of Temple Terrace


Created in 2007 by the Temple Terrace City Council, their primary focus is on the middle portion of the Hillsborough River as a freshwater supply, wildlife habitat, along with the aesthetics and navigational and recreational attributes.  Their mission statement says it all, "To maximize the unique environmental settings and resources available to Temple Terrace and the metro area by balancing a strategy for regional water quality, watershed and water resources for a thriving Hillsborough River."  And, they have been successful at it for all of us.


In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other nondiscrimination laws, public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status.