Tampa’s old-time charm still shows through the dirt and decay.
Sometimes I walk around Tampa and wish that many of the vacant, unused building would be fixed up and occupied. Then I realize what “fixed up” would look like and I hope it doesn’t happen. This may be difficult for most to understand. I mean, who wouldn’t want a new building in place of one that is falling apart? Not many, especially anyone that cares about the city and wants to see it flourish.
I am a true Tampa lover and I want nothing more than for it to prosper. The unfortunate fact about growth is that it often comes at the loss of the things that make a place what it is…in essence, it’s charm. Case in point, Lowry Park Zoo. It’s a great zoo, if you’re into that type of thing, but what did Tampa lose in order to have that? We lost Fairyland. Some may have thought it was hokey, but for many it was iconic Tampa and something irreplaceable. The magical rainbow bridge that led visitors into a land of fairytales, all handcrafted by a local artist is something that those who lived in Tampa between the 1950’s and early 1990’s would remember.
Now, as I take my walks, I see a lot of new development happening in the city. That is exciting and beneficial. What I also see are glimpses of the old-time charm that Tampa still has. It’s part of our history and part of what why I love this place. Unfortunately, much of this charm is found in those vacant, dilapidated buildings. As I walk, I imagine the buildings restored to their former glory, maintaining the vintage aesthetic. Why that is unfortunate is because I see what happens when some of these structures are “fixed up”. The “fixing” is fueled by a desire for newness, not maintaining character. For now, I can only hope that if these buildings are given new life, that the people overseeing the projects recognize the original beauty that is there, even through the tarnish and grime.