Phase Two Research

Focus Groups Update

Phase Two has seen the commencement of our Focus Groups sessions. We have formed eight distinct groups and each has had their kick off meetings. Important resources and contacts have been shared helping our Master Plan process move forward with all the resources of local and national parties. Wisdom from our teams is shaping our process, read more about them below.

Meeting Summary

Education is a major focus and our first meeting was packed with information. The meeting ran long and we fully expect productive follow ups with the group as well as one-on-ones.

The members of the group are highly knowledgeable on existing programs and offered information and contacts for each.

Group Feedback
  • Education considerations need to span from 2 weeks to adulthood
  • Safety needs addressing to allow time & energy for education
  • Year-round tutoring and afterschool programs available at no cost
  • Good relationship with local schools can be leveraged
  • Current programs do not reach all children
  • Get adults informed and participating in education & training
  • Access to transportation, technology, and scholarships lacking

Jobs & Economic Vitality
Meeting Summary

Economic vitality of the area is paramount to the community's success. Our focus group was large and full of great advice. The group posed great questions on the project. Concerns were heard and strategy for uplifting residents began to take shape.

Leads were given on local and federal resources that can aid in empowering residents, including successful strategies and roadmaps that have worked in other locations.

Group Feedback
  • Elimination of criminal element and stigma necessary for economic success
  • Perception of gentrification will be important
  • Community financial success markers need to be idetified and tracked
  • Entrepreneurship resources and coaching a necessity
  • Diverse economic neighbors improve neighborhood overall
  • Second chance offerings for those who have served time in prison
  • Resource Center / Hub can serve financial guidance needs of the community

Meeting Summary

The Housing Focus Group laid out a lot of considerations for redevelopment. A lot of questions came up on housing style, finacial needs, management scenarios, branding, and the relocation process. It was a great discovery meeting that will lead to some detailed solutions.

Group Feedback
  • The affordable housing component will be homogenous with workforce and other product offerings
  • Renaming the community can help redefine a sordid history for the area
  • The identity of the community and its positive historical elements need to be preserved
  • Resident case management will be required for those looking to return
  • Senior living and programming needs to be included in Master Plan
  • Lighting is critical to the new development

Health & Wellness
Meeting Summary

Local health workers and healthy lifestyle experts sat in on this focus group and contributed many great ideas for how to improve the quality of life for the local residents. Representatives from Tampa General, Tampa Family Health Care, Baycare, and Feeding Tampa Bay all lent their expertise and programming ideas for incorporation into the Master Plan.

Group Feedback
  • "Baked In" ideas for programming were discussed, starting at early ages
  • Simple, accessible programs and initiatives will be crucial
  • Nutritional education for all ages must be incorporated
  • Walkable areas, connected to the larger neighborhood would get residents moving
  • Community Garden with an education component for how to cook fresh vegetables
  • Integration with local movements; move quickly with established community partners
  • Mobile health & wellness truck with activity programming adds fun ways to get involved
  • Some local healthcare providers can meet residents where they are to remove obstacles
  • Mobile dental unit can be deployed

Transportation & Connectivity
Meeting Summary

The Transportation Group was a great meeting for connecting the dots of the Robles Park Redevelopment to the surrounding area. Many initiatives are already underway to improve public transit in the area. Introductions and contact info was exchanged to ensure cooperation among all vested parties to improve mobility of the residents

Group Feedback
  • A planned BRT line is underway that will benefit the Robles neighborhood
  • HART is working with City of Tampa and NPOs on BRT
  • Line will span from downtown to USF campus
  • Tampa Move is a 30 year project our group will be contacting
  • Reconnecting Robles to the existing grid will help with mobility and integration

Safety & Security
Meeting Summary

The loudest concern heard from residents is of safety and security. Our focus group for the topic featured a diverse group ranging from local social workers, Robles residents, and a TPD Captain. Outlining the major issues and a spirited discussion on solutions proceeded.

Group Feedback
  • Community involvement and security culture chage is needed
  • Pride in the community can quell criminal activities
  • Creating opportunities for the residents to have a stake in the neighborhood
  • Helping children become successful and plugged in can provide more positive choices
  • Speaking with those comitting crimes can help identify solutions
  • Technology and lighting improvements can help push crime off site
  • Local partnerships formed with community groups and law enforcement

History / Culture & Art
Meeting Summary

Robles Park Village has a complicated past. We have an obligation to recognize uncomfortable history too. We need to remember the current Robles Park Village as well. Robles in the 50’s was considered a state of the art community. Central Avenue was an important corridor. Our Focus Group supplied suggestions for how to honor the past and empower local artists.

Group Feedback
  • One or two significant art pieces should be acquired for the property
  • With regards to art for the neighborhood, a mix of artists and art would build community
  • Potenial research and public art specialists were highlighted
  • FDOT has plans for art on some underpasses nearby
  • Tampa Heights currently has an eclectic collection of art
  • A venue for musicians and performance artists would be nice
  • Many beautiful, cultural traditions associated with the Black community including bottle trees, crazy quilts, songs, and music should be explored

Zion Park & Public Spaces
Meeting Summary

Zion Cemetery is a heartbreaking story. The souls laid there, the surrounding neighborhoods, and the Black community deserve retribution and homage for the site. This group was passionate about what needs to get done and offered up great ideas and thoughts on how best to correct the wrongs of the past.

Group Feedback
  • A significant memorial needs to be installed on site
  • A museum or educational component would be a great feature
  • Community meetings, field trips, and more can be housed within
  • The story needs to be told from Zion to Potter's Field
  • The site needs to be treated with the highest respect
  • Zion name should remain in place
  • Case studies of other Black cemeteries to be conducted
  • Concepts discussed for site treatements from pillars, prayer space, memorial wall, to open field are considered