TAMPA — New Year’s is done. The Christmas tree is headed for recycling. It’s time to get on with the business of 2014.
And from where we stand, it’s shaping up the be a busy year. Two high-profile trials get underway. Mayor Bob Buckhorn leads two trade delegations to Latin America. The FCAT test disappears, replaced by a new test aligned with the Common Core standards adopted by a majority of the states.
So here, in a nutshell, are some coming attractions for the Tampa area in 2014. There’s too much to list everything, so we’ve tried to stick to the big stuff and the fun stuff with a dose or two of the odd stuff Tampa’s famous for.
January: Time’s up for boaters illegally moored in the Davis Islands seaplane basin, who must move or be impounded by the city • The rebuilt Seminole Heights library branch opens • Billy Joel returns to touring with a show at the Forum • Tampa City Council flags its priorities for the 2015 budget • Lebowski Fest Tampa abides at the Orpheum in Ybor City.
February: Mayor Bob Buckhorn leads a trade mission to Panama drumming up business to fill Copa Airline’s new flights to and from Tampa • Special Ops Spartan Sprint gives gluttons-for-punishment all the mud and misery they can handle • Skyhouse Channelside high-rise apartment complex begins construction • Tampa Fire Rescue Station 11 opens to serve North Tampa and Sulphur Springs.
March: Florida Department of Education picks a new standardized test to replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in the 2014-15 school year • Pinellas County residents vote in a special election to fill the congressional seat held by the late C.W. “Bill” Young • One year to Tampa City Council and mayoral election • Work begins on northernmost segment of the Tampay Bay Trail linking Van Dyke Road with the Suncoast Trail • Tampa Roller Derby holds try-outs.
April: Tampa Bike Share opens in downtown and Ybor City • Ulele restaurant and Water Works Park open after renovations • Jenkins pool on Davis Islands reopens after renovation • Tampa Housing Authority opens the Trio apartment building, the latest installment of its growing Encore! project on the site of the former Central Park Village • Indian International Film Academy awards come to Raymond James Stadium • Julie Schenecker goes on trial for the 2011 in fatal shootings of her son and daughter at their New Tampa home.
May: Aloft Tampa Downtown hotel opens in the former Mercantile Bank building on the Hillsborough River • One more block of the Zack Street Avenue of the Arts is finished • the National Garden Railroad convention chugs into town.
June: Accela, Tampa’s new system for streamlining approval of new development, debuts • Residences at the Riverwalk developers begin work reorienting Tyler Street after close of Straz Center for the Performing Arts Broadway season.
July: Richard McTear, accused of throwing an infant from a moving car in 2009, will be retried a year after his 2013 mistrial • Metrocon, Florida’s largest anime convention, comes to the Tampa Convention Center • Downtown’s long-shuttered former federal courthouse reopens at Le Meridien boutique hotel.
August: Tampa Fire Rescue opens Station 19 in Port Tampa • Primary elections for state and county offices narrow the field of candidates ahead of the November general election • University of South Florida hosts sports combine event for Canadian, European and Latin American basketball leagues.
September: Common Core is now the guiding principle for all schools in the Florida, 45 other states and Washington, D.C., as educators push students to become better critical thinkers.
October: Buckhorn leads a trade mission to Chile to promote sales by Tampa-area businesses • Tween-age girls scream themselves hoarse when One Direction swings through town • Recruit Military holds a job fair for veterans.
November: Governor, Legislature and county candidates meet in general election, including nine people running for April Griffin’s seat on the Hillsborough County School Board • Construction ends on Kennedy Plaza segment of the Tampa Riverwalk • Carnival Cruise Lines moves its ship The Pride from Baltimore to a temporary home in Tampa.
December: Lowry Park Zoo hits it deadline to have finished a new $4.5 million vet hospital and feeding center.