Nestled in a wooded area north of the University of South Florida, Tampa Palms is a lush, pristine community sprinkled with 28 manicured neighborhoods.
Protecting the subdivision’s image and the aesthetic appeal of its signature intersection of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Tampa Palms Boulevard are No. 1 priorities.
That’s why the Tampa Palms Community Development District Board of Supervisors is circling its wagons as Hillsborough County prepares to extend the Bruce B. Downs Road eight-lane widening project south through Tampa Palms.
The community taxing authority has hired landscape architecture firm Hardeman-Kempton & Associates to create a multiyear, multi-project design to help with the community entryway makeover.
Hardeman-Kempton also will make proposals for a pond at the southwest corner of Bruce B. Downs and Tampa Palms boulevards and changes near Bristol Place and Amberly.
“Tampa Palms residents are excited about maintaining their signature presence along the Bruce B. Downs Boulevard corridor,” said Maggie Wilson, a consultant to the Tampa Palms Community Development District.
“That is important for the citizens here to not feel cut off,” when construction begins, Wilson said.
The aim is to maintain a level of aesthetic consistency throughout the community even during three years of road widening on Bruce B. Downs in Tampa Palms.
Tampa Palms, a 5,400-acre development featuring native Florida landscaping, is the only community along the Bruce B. Downs corridor in the county where the widening project will extend though the heart of the subdivision.
When developer Ken Goode founded Tampa Palms in the 1980s, he established a master-planned community with Area 1 on the east side of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Area 2 on the west side of the thoroughfare.
Tampa Palms residents gush about the amenities in Area 1, which include scenic River Park on the Hillsborough River, kid-friendly Amberly Park, and Compton Park with its multipurpose field, community clubhouse with a pool, and tennis courts.
They also flock to Hampton Park in Area 2, where there are the tennis courts, racquetball courts, volleyball courts.
Construction began in January 2010 on the $37 million widening project from Palms Spring Boulevard in Tampa Palms to Pebble Creek Drive south of the Hillsborough-Pasco county line.
Widening Bruce B. Downs Boulevard has been on the county's long-term transportation wish list for 20 years. County statistics show 60,000 vehicles travel Bruce B. Downs through New Tampa daily.
With the first two segments of the eight-lane widening completed, the county plans to begin collecting bids to widen the southernmost leg of the project, a 3.6-mile stretch from Bearss Avenue to Palm Springs Boulevard.
No date is set for the final phase, a 1.5-mile section from Pebble Creek Drive to County Line Road.
“The citizens of Tampa Palms are striving not to have pockets of isolation in the community,” said Wilson, who lives in Tampa Palms. “We don’t want isolation to creep in.”