Buckhorn introduces the InVision plan for downtown Tampa

Since the time he was elected 20 months ago, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has steadfastly advocated that one of the top goals he hopes to achieve is to make the Hillsborough River the center of downtown Tampa, not its western edge.

There are a lot of ideas and plans that the mayor and other major players have in the works to achieve that goal (particularly in developing West Tampa), and one method Buckhorn has employed is to allow the public to have say about what they want downtown and the neighborhoods surrounding it to be.

On Tuesday, Buckhorn held a news conference in City Hall's Courtyard, the very same place where he first introduced InVision Tampa last April. InVision Tampa is a master plan and study — of downtown, the Nebraska Avenue Transit Corridor, and its surrounding neighborhoods — that he pledged would depend heavily on public input.

"This plan — what you see here — is the culmination of a lot of work," Buckhorn said while holding up a paper copy of what represents The Center City Plan. "But it is just the beginning, not the end." (The other major part — the Nebraska Avenue Corridor plan — will follow later).

Officials say the report includes a lot of public input, including more than 800 in-person attendees and more than 1,000 social and virtual town hall users who were allowed to weigh in on what they want downtown Tampa to become. There were also eight neighborhood walking tours and community meetings, more than 20 stakeholder group meetings, and a public design workshop, all held in neighborhoods like Tampa Heights, Ybor City, V.M. Ybor, Old West Tampa, the Channel district, North Hyde Park, and the Nebraska/Hillsborough corridor.

"We wanted to create a blueprint for the development of our urban core. Not just our downtown, but all of our neighborhoods that connect with downtown," the mayor added.