West River Review - Spring/Summer 2021
Redevelopment Progress Update
Aerial View of Renaissance, Mary McLeod Bethune Apts., and Boulevard Towers 1, 2, 3, and 4
The newly constructed Renaissance at West River and the reconstruction of Mary McLeod Bethune Apartments were completed in the fall of 2020. They are both all affordable senior housing developments with 1 and 2 bedrooms. The Renaissance is 6 stories and has 160 units; Mary McLeod Bethune Apartments is 8 stories and has 150 units. Some amenities include Community Room, Fitness Center, Business Center, Medical Clinic, Laundry Facilities, Theater, Craft Room, Salon, Retail, and a Dog Park.
- President's Message
- Resident's Highlights
I wish you all a joyful 2021! The year 2020 presented unprecedented challenges to all as we battled the COVID-19 pandemic. The pervasive virus heavily impacted the economy and significantly affected everyone's cost of living. Many families were hit hard and still trying to make ends meet. We are proud to have made it through, working remotely to provide needed services to all our residents. Within the confines of the pandemic, we still found innovative and effective ways to serve our residents.
I am delighted to report that the project at West River is coming along. The Renaissance and Mary Bethune developments were completed in late 2020 and are now fully occupied for a total of 310 units, all affordable. The multi-family developments known as the Boulevards will be completed by fall with a total of 371 units. The last Boulevards tower and the Villas, with 134 units, will be completed by late 2022.
In the last few years, we completed the Tempo at Encore consisting of 203 units, mixed-use, mixed-income, multi-family development, 70% affordable, and 30% market rate. We recently completed the 7,500 SF Job Training Facility at Encore for adult education and culinary training. We have also completed the Meacham Urban Farm, with an educational facility that consists of 2.1 acres with greenhouses and a farm store to provide fresh organic vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat, and more. It is a high-yielding, bio-intensive farm accessible to the surrounding Tampa neighborhoods with the intention of introducing healthy, nutritious and easily available food to the community. In partnership with the Hillsborough County School District Adult Education Division, the farm will provide cooking classes, educate members of the community on healthy food choices, and offer hospitality and chef training.
I'd like to note that we also have opportunities for employment through our Section 3 program. Part of the objective of Section 3 is to help our residents obtain job training, employment, and contracting prospects. It is definitely a great opportunity, and we encourage all who are interested to inquire through their case managers.
We are always deeply proud of our residents, and this month is no exception. I'd like to congratulate all our former senior residents returning to Mary McLeod Bethune Apartments and Renaissance at West River after construction. I extend congratulations as well to the Geraldine Barnes Awards recipients - Latoria Glover and Bradley Antione. I wish to extend our gratitude to the Bible-Based Fellowship for their profound support through the donation of food, fresh fruits, and vegetables to our residents during these difficult times. In addition, I thank everyone who provided or continues to provide support and encouragement to our residents and those in need as we negotiate the disruptions and uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis.
The West River redevelopment is the beginning of some major developments within the West Tampa community, connecting to the South Tampa commercial district. In East Tampa, we are looking forward to the prospect of the Robles Park Village redevelopment and memorialization of the Zion Cemetery. The Tampa Housing Authority stands on its commitment to bring you more exciting news in the near future.
Sincerely, Jerome D. Ryans, President / CEO
Board of Commissioners
- James A. Cloar, Chair
- Bemetra Salter Liggins, Vice Chair
- Ben Dachepalli
- Lorena Hardwick
- Sul Hemani
- Parker A. Homans
- Billi Johnson-Griffin
Jerome D. Ryans, President/CEO
West River Review Newsletter
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The Boulevard at West River has 4 towers and 2 garages and is currently under construction. They will be mixed-income multi-family housing developments with 8-stories. Towers 1 and 2 will have 119 units, Tower 3 will have 133 units, and Tower 4 will have 102 units. The scheduled completion date is the Summer and Fall of 2021; and the Fall of 2022 for Tower 4.
Villas at West River will be constructed just north of Mary McLeod Bethune Apts., and will be a mixed-income multi- family housing development of 32 units, 3 stories. The scheduled completion date is the Fall of 2022.
Canopy at West River will have 3 towers and will be constructed next to the Boulevard Towers. They will be mixed-income and workforce multi-family housing developments. Tower 1 will be 7 stories and have 112 units, Tower 2 will be 5 stories and have 84 units, and Tower 3 will have approximately 200 units.
Tampa Housing Authority has long been a contributing resource for employment opportunities through the Section 3 program. Its function is to offer recipients of certain HUD financial assistance to the greatest extent possible by providing job training, employment, and contract opportunities for low or very low-income residents in connection with projects and activities in their neighborhoods. Section 3 is a starting point to obtain job training, employment, and contracting opportunities. From this integral foundation, coupled with other resources, comes the opportunity for economic advancement and self-sufficiency.
Examples of Opportunities Include:
- Appliance Repair
- Tile Setting
Contact Tina Washington, Section 3 representative, to become certified as a Section 3 resident or Section 3 business - 813.341.9101 ext. 3500.
Re-Occupancy Update: There are 33 previous residents of Mary Bethune Hi-Rise and North Boulevard Homes that have returned to the newly redeveloped and re-named Mary McLeod Bethune Apts. and the newly constructed Renaissance at West River.
Bienvenido Marquez was the first previous resident to move back to Mary McLeod Bethune Apartments on October 1, 2020.
Benigna Valdes-Avila was the first previous resident to move into Renaissance at West River on September 29, 2020.
A Book House was provided by Mary Lee's House for resident enjoyment. A Book House is a mini library consisting of children's books, resource pamphlets, and self-help materials.
Congratulations to the Geraldine Barnes Award recipients: Laoria Glove and Bradley Antione.
Food donations were provided by Bible-Based Fellowship Church and Florida Baptist Association, which included fresh fruit, vegetables, and non-perishables.
Other activities include: Food Giveaways, Holiday Adopt a Family, Back to School Bookbag Giveaways, and Universal Soul Circus.