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Affordable housing and green space merging together in downtown Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. — A new community park is nearing completion in downtown Tampa. It’s centered around the Encore project, a mixed-use development that’s not only providing affordable housing but green space to go along with it.

This week, volunteers planted 300 native species in Encore Park, an area formerly known as Central Park Village.

“We are bringing back a mixed-use, mixed-income, live, work, play community,” said David Hollis with the Tampa Housing Authority.

According to the Tampa Housing Authority, the new Encore Development will consist of 1,500 housing units. Some will be listed for the market rate, others designated as affordable for seniors and families.

“That are maybe in the service industry, the first responders, those people that maybe would like to live closer to downtown but literally can’t afford the rents at Channelside,” said Hollis.

Providing affordability is only the beginning. The Tampa Housing Authority brought in the Tampa Bay Butterfly Foundation to help blossom their half-acre park into a place everyone wants to visit.

“It’s just beautiful, I think it’s nice to be able to remove yourself from being surrounded by concrete and see butteries flying around, bees flying around, and relax as a community member,” said volunteer Hope Lloyd.

Tampa Bay Butterfly Foundation president, Anita Camacho, hopes this park inspires all future developers to make room for green space, no matter what the project.

“They need it at every corridor that we can come up with, and whether that’s businesses once they built a building to put more Florida back into Florida, put somethings back in for the native pollinators and birds and wildlife so we have movement all around us,” said Camacho.

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