African American issues dominate Darryl Rouson funding requests
Image via Colin Hackley.

Funding for sickle cell research and cultural amenities feature prominently.

Sen. Darryl Rouson is asking for nearly $78 million in funding for local projects, with the biggest asks for those who would benefit a large chunk of his constituents — those in the African American community. 

Of the $77.9 million, spanning 58 requests, the largest ask is for the Hillsborough County African American Arts and Cultural Center, for which Rouson is requesting $10 million. 

The next largest request is for a sickle cell workforce education and training program, clocking in at $4.5 million. 

The cultural center funding would pay for construction on the 50,000 square-foot facility. Once completed, the center would include “a range of public experience spaces, meeting spaces, galleries, labs, studios, educational classrooms, a cafe, administrative support offices, interior and exterior special event spaces, and parking.”

Rouson’s request notes that the total project cost for the next fiscal year will be $22.5 million, with $1 million in federal matching grants, along with $6.5 million from the state, $4.75 million from local entities and another $250,000 from miscelaneous sources. 

The request for sickle cell training would provide $3.5 million for a Clinical Outcomes study evaluating how clinicians can improve and stakeholder engagement; $725,000 for clinical staff to create educational infrastructure; $200,000 for project management and oversight; and $75,000 for administrative support.

Rouson also requested $3.5 million to improve a sickle cell registry, providing better data collection and reporting and another $2 million for Phase III of the expansion of sickle cell disease care in Florida. A smaller request asks for $150,000 for the sickle cell awareness foundation, Hands of Hope. 

Rouson’s request also reflects his long-standing commitment to substance abuse prevention and treatment. As a recovering addict himself, Rouson has long been an advocate for stamping out drug use.

He requested $3.9 million for an opioid incident response simulation modeling and health care professional training program at the University of South Florida. The funding would aid a joint project that aims to help counties “better plan for and respond to opioid overdoses.” 

Another request seeks $750,528 for the Bridges 2 Recovery program to better coordinate with law enforcement through a collaboration with the group Live Tampa Bay. 

Crime prevention is also prevalent in Rouson’s requests, with $3.465 million requested for the Ybor City Crime Prevention Coalition; $1.12 million for a juvenile recidivism and prevention program; $1 million for an inmate certification and reentry program; $750,000 for a USF St. Petersburg risk to resilience lab; $479,646 for the Tampa Police Department’s crime reduction efforts in Ybor City; and $200,000 for real time crime data integration for the Tampa Police Department.  

Other funding requests from Rouson include: 

$3.78 million to expand Mahaffey Theater in St. Pete.

$3.5 million for the Prodigy Cultural Arts program.

$3 million for improvements to 29th St. and Lake Ave. 

$2.5 million for the Pinellas Science Center.

$2.5 million for the USF Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program.

$2 million for improvements to Washington St. from S. Tamiami Trail to S. 56th St. in Tampa. 

$1.79 million for capital repairs to the Lutheran Apartments. 

$1.75 million for a new bandshell at Perry Harvey Park in Tampa.

$1.5 million for Catholic Charities’ Tampa Hope Cottages.

$1.5 million for a Florida Blockchain Business Association Innovation Lab at the Pinellas Science Center. 

$1.31 million for the Florida Children’s Initiative food security and nature deficit program. 

$1.15 million for the St. Petersburg Community Support HUB, to promote neighborhood and community wellness. 

$1.1 million for Tampa Bay Watch for living shoreline and water quality improvements. 

$1.1 million for replacement of the St. Petersburg Willow Marsh boardwalk.

$1 million for increasing public transit access for the transportation disadvantaged in Pinellas County. 

$1 million for neighborhood protection and living shoreline enhancements in Tampa’s Palmetto Beach neighborhood. 

$985,000 to expand the Florida Green Jobs Youth Initiative. 

$930,000 for the Pre-Apprenticeship Training and Hiring program (PATH).

$900,000 for Girls Inc. of Pinellas.

$850,000 for Phase II renovations to the Palladium Theater in St. Pete. 

$830,000 for a structural assessment and bathroom repairs at the Cuban Club in Ybor City. 

$750,000 for the Hillsborough County Pebble Beach bridge.

$750,000 for the Lions World Vision Institute Foundation to support pediatric vision health. 

$750,000 for a youth advocate program serving Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. 

$750,000 for a mobile one-stop career center. 

$725,500 for the Penny Lane Beatles Museum Educational Ticket to Ride. 

$660,000 for statewide women’s business centers. 

$550,000 for capital renovations for the South Florida Medical Network.

$500,000 for general operating support for educational television programming. 

$500,000 for a new medical care and health educational center in the Countryside area of Pinellas County. 

$500,000 for the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association Fellowship. 

$500,000 for a Florida youth leadership, mentoring and character education pilot program. 

$500,000 for the Arts Conservatory for Teens.

$500,000 for a youth opportunity skills center. 

$500,000 for Project Life Stream.

$480,000 a healthy neighborhood stores program through FRESH Pace. 

$350,000 for the Life Skills 360 Training Institute. 

$325,000 for the Our Children Have Rights parent education and engagement program focusing on child custody and coparenting. 

$300,000 for ladder truck replacement for St. Pete Fire. 

$250,000 for Florida Recovery Schools of Tampa Bay.

$250,000 for the Hillsborough County Black Chamber of Commerce.

$250,000 for the Mt. Zion Family Life Center. 

$250,000 for Eckerd College’s Florida High Risk Youth Educational Research program. 

$135,000 for a boys leadership, education and mentorship program. 

$95,000 for The Red Tent Women’s Initiative. 

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].

One comment

  • S. Rose Smith-Hayes

    March 6, 2024 at 9:04 pm

    Bold and ‘gutsy’ moves, I am proud of him!!!! If we only get half it is better than nothing. Represent the ‘People’.

Comments are closed.


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