Healthy neighborhoods make for healthy cities. That's the theory behind a new program being launched by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn that will identify future neighborhood leaders and groom them for success.
The concept is called Neighborhood University and is modeled after the chamber of commerce's popular Leadership Tampa program, which brings together promising young business leaders who form lasting networks while learning how things work in the real world.
Neighborhood University will apply that model to the multitude of communities that make up Tampa.
Members must apply and be selected to participate in the 12-week program. Those selected will learn from city officials how zoning and permitting processes work, and how to succeed when trying to make changes that benefit their neighborhoods.
They will also learn how to establish neighborhood organizations that endure and get results.
Buckhorn says he wants to make sure there are leaders in the wings ready to take on the challenges that come with making a city work for all of its residents.
"Strong neighborhoods provide the foundation for great cities," Buchkhorn says.
We agree. And so do a few dozen people who have already visited the city's website to apply for the inaugural class. The application deadline is July 26.
It's a big commitment in time and headaches to volunteer as a neighborhood leader.
This class should help ease the anxiety for those thinking about taking the plunge, and set them up for future successes that can benefit the entire city.