The City of Tampa Monday announced it launched a multiphase program aimed at improving infrastructure in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Some of that infrastructure is more than a century old.
The Foundation for Tampa’s Neighborhoods will focus on four neighborhoods: East Tampa, MacFarlane Park, Forest Hills and Virginia Park. Construction is planned to start in the summer beginning with wastewater improvements in MacFarlane Park and East Tampa. The project includes water, wastewater, stormwater and transportation improvements.
“We’re trying to be preventive in our approach to fixing a lot of these areas prior to having to come out during an emergency,” Mayor Jane Castor said Monday.
Castor said burst pipes cost the city millions each year. Replacing pipes will improve water pressure, Castor said, which will increase the ability of first responders to fight fires.
The project will start with wastewater improvements, then work on potable water pipes, stormwater improvements and, lastly, street paving. The project is expected to be completed by 2025. Deputy Administrator of Infrastructure Brad Baird said the city chose the four neighborhoods after analyzing master plans for water and wastewater, stormwater improvement and preparation for All for Transportation tax funds that the city can no longer use.
“We pulled all those plans together,” Baird said. “It was quite an effort by our chief engineers and their teams to coordinate which neighborhoods had the most need.”
Baird said the project is one of 70 in the Progressive Infrastructure Plan to Ensure Sustainability, or PIPES, program. PIPES is a $2.9 billion plan for large-scale sewer and water infrastructure improvements. This initiative, he said, adds to some of the work identified in PIPES.
“Some of those other PIPES projects will be water or wastewater only,” Baird said. “In this case, we don’t want to tear up the street twice. We’re coordinating stormwater, transportation, water and wastewater in this project and that was the idea from the beginning.”
Baird said the City Council will vote on funding the $21 million wastewater portion of the project in May.