USF, local businesses create Tampa Innovation Alliance

By Isabella Bailey
On August 24, 2011

While the Tampa campus has undergone major renovations, USF is now setting its sights on improving the surrounding community with the help of the Tampa Innovation Alliance.

USF Vice President for Communications Michael Hoad said the alliance, which includes institutions such as Busch Gardens, University Community Hospital (UCH) and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, hopes to brand the North Tampa area by attracting more businesses.

How that task will be accomplished has yet to be determined.

Busch Gardens media relations manager Jill Revelle said the alliance has not yet divided responsibilities or set a timeline for accomplishing their goals.

"We are still in the infancy of the program," she said. "We are researching the area and what it is going to take. In this area, you have the city of Temple Terrace, the city of Tampa and unincorporated areas all together. It's not one-stop shopping when dealing with the government organizations to decide what happens around here."

Hoad said he estimates the alliance will be formed by the end of August, as they are still working through legal tasks regarding the different companies policies and powers.

Hoad said in an email that USF President Judy Genshaft thought of creating a community alliance when Juan Soltero, the student body president from 2009 to 2010, began an effort to place USF banners on roadways around the Tampa campus.

"Although that project was too expensive, it got us thinking about helping to improve the roadways around the University," he said. "The students wanted to build a better sense of entry to USF. It turned out that Busch Gardens, Moffitt and UCH all wanted the same thing."

Revelle said the Tampa Innovation Alliance has a broad scope in terms of goals and plans for the community. The team still has to determine what specific tasks they want to accomplish to improve the look of the area and attract better businesses, as well as what resources will be available to accomplish them. However, the end goal is clear.

"(People) will hear about the area and they will know it's a good place to be," she said.

Jack Kolosky, chief operations officer at the Moffitt Cancer Center, said he hopes the Alliance will help stimulate the area's economy.

"I think there are a lot of models for how this has worked out in other areas of the country or even in the area," he said, "The Westshore Alliance has done a great job in that type of community, doing the same kinds of things we are talking about. It's really more of a matter of having the time to get them done."

The Tampa Innovation Alliance met with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn in early July, Hoad said, who received the idea very well.

"Temple Terrace loves it and wants to work with us as much as possible," he said. "(It) is very much the bedroom community for all four institutions."

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