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hustle4alivin

Things I'll miss (and won't miss) about Tampa Bay

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Well, my time here in Florida is coming to a close. I was accepted to grad school in Atlanta, and I'll be moving in a few months, and after two years here I wanted to think about the good and the bad.

I'll try to be positive first.

Things I WILL miss:

November to April-

While the rest of the nation is freezing their behinds off, I'm basking in balmy, 60-75 degree weather and I'm about to head off to the beach. You can't beat that. Even Southern California (where I grew up) can get chilly compared to here this time of year.

The Beaches-

Clearwater Beach and Sand Key quickly became my favorites. The powdery sand of Clearwater and the fun and festivities around Pier 60 was always the best to take out-of-towners to. Sand Key in contrast was quiet and peaceful during times when things were a little heavy for me.

The Howard Frankland Bridge-

Yes, the dreaded Howard "Frankenstein" sucks during rush hour, but if I'm stuck in a car during rush hour, at least I can look at the bay and get spectacular views of Tampa and counting the planes landing at TIA.

Ybor City-

I went to high school and college in Mississippi where nightlife options were pretty limited. I was very happy with having decent nightlife in one concentrated place. Club Skye, Full Moon, Prana, Fuel quickly became favorites. However, Ybor grew old on me quickly (especially going there on a weekly basis). I learned to appreciate the place the less I went. Guavaween and Gasparilla were always fun.

The Todd to go buy, um, toys. ;-)

Tampa International Airport-

That airport should be copied and pasted in every city in the country with a major airport.

Friendly Floridians-

I find Floridians in general to be friendly, accommodating people (South Beach being an exception :P ). People here go out of their way to make sure you are taken care of (Restaurants, retail, etc.). They're used to people coming from all over to move here and make sure that newcomers feel welcome (since many of them were newcomers themselves). You can't say that for many places.

Things I WON'T Miss about Tampa Bay:

US-19!!!!!! :angry:

I-275 through Tampa :w00t:

Snowbird season-

Nothing says bad luck like being in a hurry and driving behind anything with an Ohio, Michigan, Ontario, New Brunswick, and especially Quebec license plate. I made sure I got right in front of them (using my turning signal of course).

Ugly Parts-

Just about every city in the country has an ugly part of town, but over here in Pinellas, once you get away from the Waterfront areas and a few exceptions (Countryside, Feather Sound, Bardmoor, etc.), I didn't find the area very attractive at all. Maybe because I lived in San Diego for a long time and became spoiled, but I found many parts of town drab and full of strip Malls, strip clubs and trailer parks. My aunt from Maryland came to visit and that's all she fussed about the whole time...And she lives in ugly, ugly Prince Georges County...

Lousy Radio Stations-

Commercial Radio stations pretty much suck all over the country, so this isn't really a local issue, but I was pretty underwhelmed with the selection here considering this is a top 20 radio market. I couldn't find a decent R&B station to save my life (I wish Star 94 from Orlando can be picked up here), and why, oh why is Tom Joyner on an AM station here?! 98.7 and 95.7 are good to listen to in small doses, but I don't listen to Hip-Hop ALL the time. Olivia Fox's radio show is entertaining, but it's kind of overrated to me. The Freak Show is interesting, but sometimes I find myself shouting at the radio at some of the stupid things said by people on there. I found MJ Morning show to be blah...Why that show is #1 in Tampa blows my mind. He doesn't seem that different from any other rambling, know-it-all, hacky morning zoo radio show. But I digress...thank goodness for WSJT 94.1 and XM radio.

Low Salaries and High Cost of living-

Do I really need to explain this one?

The racial problems of St Pete-

Now I'm an African-American who lived in the deep south for ten years, so I know racism when I see it. Although it is refreshing to live somewhere with a diverse population without the extensive de-facto segregation that I saw living in Mississippi, I feel an undercurrent of tension here. I hate how the Uhuru's appointed themselves as the spokespeople for Tampa Bay's Black community because they certainly don't represent me.

I hated how when we first moved here, the realtors would only show us South St. Pete, and whenever we mentioned another neighborhood (we were interested in Seminole in particular), they would either ignore us or change the subject. Keep in mind we weren't the only ones this happened to. I've heard story after story of this sort of redlining from other Blacks coming to the area looking at St. Pete. We've all got the 25 cent tour of Lakewood Estates and Pinellas Point. I was not impressed. Of course we got another realtor, but we rented a house during our stay here because we're paid in sunshine here.

There doesn't seem to be much of a cohesive black middle class here (Athletes don't count, sorry) compared to what I've seen in Orlando or even Jacksonville.

These are just my observations, that's all. At least I'll still have Publix when I move to Atlanta.

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I find Floridians in general to be friendly, accommodating people (South Beach being an exception ). People here go out of their way to make sure you are taken care of (Restaurants, retail, etc.). They're used to people coming from all over to move here and make sure that newcomers feel welcome (since many of them were newcomers themselves). You can't say that for many places.

Friendly Floridians? You've got to be kidding me!! As a native Floridian, I find Floridians to be rude, detached people.

The two words "friendly" and "Floridian" don't belong in the same sentence.

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Friendly Floridians? You've got to be kidding me!! As a native Floridian, I find Floridians to be rude, detached people.

The two words "friendly" and "Floridian" don't belong in the same sentence.

That's because a lot of people down here have a lot of money (often "old" money), so they think that they can do whatever they feel like regardless of the consequences...

As far as the other issues...

Radio here does seem to be lacking a lot. Many of the halfway decent stations can only be picked up in certain parts of the bay area. Tom Joiner is also on 96.1FM if you are in northern/central Hillsborough or Pasco. And certain other stations have static in various parts of Tampa, even when the transmitter is only 20 miles away "as the crow flies". And the quality of radio content is severely lacking (and often loaded with commercials). If my commute was any longer, I would be forced to invest in an XM radio.

Traffic in general is just insane. If you aren't stuck behind somebody going 10mph under the limit, you are being blown away by someone going 20mph over the limit. Assuming you aren't trapped in a parking lot pretending to be a major highway.

And the biggest issue should be housing vs. transportation vs. income. Those three combined sometimes makes Tampa very hard to deal with.

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Good Luck. Atlanta is a great city too!

You forgot one of the main things you will NOT miss - hurricane season!

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Can't argue with a lot of your assessments of the Bay area - both good and bad. It's interesting to get your perspective on the racial aspects of the Bay area. I don't know if it's any better or worse in Tampa than St. Pete, but it definitely seems that the Uhurus stay on the Pinellas side of the Bay.

But here's the $64,000 question - would you come back? I know that leaders of this area are concerned about the dearth of college-educated 20-somethings, and are trying to figure out the best ways to attract and retain that segment.

From your viewpoint, what would it take to bring you back to the Tampa Bay area upon graduating from grad school?

By the way, good luck in Atlanta. I lived there for four years (97-01) and enjoyed it.

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But here's the $64,000 question - would you come back? I know that leaders of this area are concerned about the dearth of college-educated 20-somethings, and are trying to figure out the best ways to attract and retain that segment.

From your viewpoint, what would it take to bring you back to the Tampa Bay area upon graduating from grad school?

That is a good question, and a hard one to answer! For one thing, there needs to be a more diverse economy that will attract young professionals. Florida rolls out the red carpet for retirees, and there is nothing wrong with that at all, but Tampa Bay doesn't seem as accommodating towards young college grads starting out in the "real world". It seems like Orlando has done a little bit better attracting young college grads because that area never really developed early enough to attract retirees like St. Pete has for years.

I know it's a little bit better than it used to be in terms of the economy here, but Tampa Bay has a long way to go. Low paying service jobs and Call Centers aren't going to cut it. Also, there doesn't seem to be much in terms of getting young professional people together here either. Getting drunk every weekend in Ybor City doesn't count.

There needs to have competitive salaries (This is an issue all over FL). There are lots of people who would kill to move to Florida, so your getting paid "In Sunshine", but sunshine doesn't put food on my table, gas in my car, or music in my iPod. I know one of the reasons the area has been so expensive it's still relatively cheap here compared to New York, DC, California, etc. for people who are retired, or making a change midlife, but compared to other Fast growing areas like Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina, it's pretty high here for young people with entry-level salaries. One of the reasons Texas has lured so many young professionals is because they have well-paying, professional jobs and a reasonable cost of living. What you get here for $200,000 is practically a hovel compared to what you'd get in Texas. And like Florida, no state income taxes.

Friendly Floridians? You've got to be kidding me!! As a native Floridian, I find Floridians to be rude, detached people.

The two words "friendly" and "Floridian" don't belong in the same sentence.

That's because a lot of people down here have a lot of money (often "old" money), so they think that they can do whatever they feel like regardless of the consequences...

Yes, the "I got mine motherf****r, you better get yours" attitude of the old (and new) money here is a real turnoff. I was PISSED when I saw that news report about how residents on Siesta Key didn't want people walking on "their" beach. There was an 80 year old woman on the news who had been walking that beach for years. What harm is she doing to people?

If my commute was any longer, I would be forced to invest in an XM radio.

Hell, my commute is only a few miles, and my investment in buying XM radio has paid for itself tenfold since I got it (I don't buy nearly as many CD's as I used to). I'm telling you, once you get an XM, you'll never want to listen to commericial radio again.

You forgot one of the main things you will NOT miss - hurricane season!

You got that right! I still have two or three months before I move, so I guess I better "hunker down" (If I never have to hear that phrase again, I'll die a happy man.

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But here's the $64,000 question - would you come back? I know that leaders of this area are concerned about the dearth of college-educated 20-somethings, and are trying to figure out the best ways to attract and retain that segment.

From your viewpoint, what would it take to bring you back to the Tampa Bay area upon graduating from grad school?

Come september I too will be leaving the tampa area, as it stands now. My main reason(s) would be the ridiculously expensive housing, unless you enjoy living in a slum, which I do not. Low wages are another factor. With the skyrocketing cost of homes in this area it's become nearly impossible to afford a home close to where I work, even renting has become costly. I was thrilled to see all these condo projects go up in channelside, it was just what I was looking for until I checked out the prices. Unless you were one of the first people to get one you pretty much cannot touch a 1br 1ba condo/loft/whatever, for less than $300k. Sorry but that's not young urban professional prices if you ask me. Traffic is an issue but I was able to deal with that by coming in later to work and working late.

My move will most likely take me to the northwest. Cost of living there so far is lower than the Tampa Bay area, at least from my perspective plus they're more transit friendly on the west coast. Seems the Tampa Bay area for whatever reason has this mindset against having a decent transit system. The buses around here don't work, especially if you live in the burbs and work late hours. The state seems to think the way out of this mess is to pave over the swamps, wetlands, and anything else that is in it's way. Just look at their "New Roads" plan for a massive beltway around the Bay area. Just one more thing florida needs to promote sprawl.

It's time to build up the area's that have been developed. Increase the density, add transit, and most of all tell the NIMBY's if you can't handle the growth then it's suggested you pack your bags and leave.

What would it take to get me back to the Tampa Bay Area.... see the reasons for leaving above, fix them and I might consider it.

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Come september I too will be leaving the tampa area, as it stands now. My main reason(s) would be the ridiculously expensive housing, unless you enjoy living in a slum, which I do not. Low wages are another factor. With the skyrocketing cost of homes in this area it's become nearly impossible to afford a home close to where I work, even renting has become costly.

You forgot to mention home insurance costs. I don't own a home yet, but just from what I'm hearing about the skyrocketing costs of getting insurance (assuming that new policies will still be available by the time I want to buy a house), the outlook does not look good.

I was thrilled to see all these condo projects go up in channelside, it was just what I was looking for until I checked out the prices. Unless you were one of the first people to get one you pretty much cannot touch a 1br 1ba condo/loft/whatever, for less than $300k. Sorry but that's not young urban professional prices if you ask me.

I *still* want to know where all of these jobs are that allow so many people to drop $250k-$400k on a home/condo...

Traffic is an issue but I was able to deal with that by coming in later to work and working late.

I don't know what I would do if I had to actually drive into downtown during rush hour. Just driving around mid-day is bad enough, even when most people have already made it to their destination. Not to mention that a single accident on the wrong stretch interstate can cause miles of backups in addition to miles of backups on 3-4 other surface roads.

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The racial problems of St Pete-

Now I'm an African-American who lived in the deep south for ten years, so I know racism when I see it. Although it is refreshing to live somewhere with a diverse population without the extensive de-facto segregation that I saw living in Mississippi, I feel an undercurrent of tension here. I hate how the Uhuru's appointed themselves as the spokespeople for Tampa Bay's Black community because they certainly don't represent me.

I hated how when we first moved here, the realtors would only show us South St. Pete, and whenever we mentioned another neighborhood (we were interested in Seminole in particular), they would either ignore us or change the subject. Keep in mind we weren't the only ones this happened to. I've heard story after story of this sort of redlining from other Blacks coming to the area looking at St. Pete. We've all got the 25 cent tour of Lakewood Estates and Pinellas Point. I was not impressed. Of course we got another realtor, but we rented a house during our stay here because we're paid in sunshine here.

There doesn't seem to be much of a cohesive black middle class here (Athletes don't count, sorry) compared to what I've seen in Orlando or even Jacksonville.

These are just my observations, that's all. At least I'll still have Publix when I move to Atlanta.

I really wish the Uhurus would shut up, or at least there be an effective counter to the their inciteful rhetoric. They've really blown things out of proportion, and created a view to those outside St. Pete that things are much worst than they really are.

I'm suprised that black middle-class buyers are still being steered to Lakewood Estates and Pinellas Point in St. Pete, but then again I'm not. It really is the only place in St. Pete where you'll find such a large concentration of black middle class, and there's quite a bit of new development going on there. Unfortunately, there are some not-so-nice "pockets", and for a black "suburb" it's really not that far removed from da hood. I can see a slow migration of the black population in St. Pete to the northwest, neighborhoods north of Central and west of 34th Street. Other than that, I see redevelopment/densification in existing neighborhoods in south St. Pete.

I do agree that Tampa Bay really lacks a cohesive black middle class. Part of that is that the black middle/upper class has no center, like DeKalb County in Atlanta or Prince Georges County in DC. The other part is the lack of communication between the cities. The black community in St. Pete operates independently of the black community in Tampa and vice versa. There's not much networking between them. Between Tampa Bay and Bradenton/Sarasota, I believe, there about 500,000 African-Americans. Imagine if they communicated more. I think the water is as much a mental barrier as it is a physical barrier. It's starting to change. When I read things like www.powerbrokermagazine.com, I get very encourged about the future of the black community in Tampa Bay. Still, I think it may take a while to break through that culture of seperatism among the cities.

As far as being a young professional, the job market isn't that bad. It could be a lot better, though. And, without efficient mass transit, it's really tough looking for a job. I know several people that live in St. Pete, that are reluctant to look for jobs in Tampa because of the commute. Without adequate mass transit, the area will start to lose out.

Socially, there are some efforts to build connections between young professionals, but most of them are Hillsborough centered, and don't really reach out to the rest of the metro. Like Emerge Tampa. Why not partner with other Chamber of Commerces and create an "Emerge Tampa Bay"? But, that's the problem with Tampa Bay. Each city and county is out for itself, and not thinking about the area as a whole. I think Orlando has done a better job with attacting the young professional population, not that the job market is any better. It just has a different energy than Tampa Bay. I think the "newness" of Orlando is very attractive.

At any rate, I wish you well in Atlanta. I'm always impressed every time I visit there. Most people I know that moved there really like it. I'm sure you will, too.

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My move will most likely take me to the northwest. Cost of living there so far is lower than the Tampa Bay area, at least from my perspective plus they're more transit friendly on the west coast

Welllllll, not exactly. My husband and I are actually LEAVING Portland, Oregon to move to St. Pete next February. Yeah, I hear the collective gasp! But, I think the grass is always greener. I am seeing that it is in my head just by reading the realistic posts about the negatives of the Tampa Bay area. While Portland is a wonderful city in terms of beauty and a good transit system and lots of cool stuff to BUY, there are unbelievable problems and the main ones are (1) The increasingly high cost of living--you cannot buy a decent home here that is relatively close in to Downtown for under $300K+ and it continues to go up and up even for the biggest dumps in disgusting meth neighborhoods 80+ blocks from Downtown (these homes are at least $200K) and (2) The dreary, suicide-inducing rain and grey that lasts from October til early June.

It has been a nice ride here, but for us, we are really looking forward to SUN, BEACH and true diversity--if you are any race but white out here, it is a tough, weird road to hoe. I am from Memphis and the "hidden" racism is disgusting. I am sure there are going to be lots of things to not like about Tampa Bay and lots of things we will miss about Portland. But we are looking forward to using our energies and some of the cool things we have learned in the Pac NW as community members in St. Pete. Call us idealists, but the battles are half the fun!

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Welllllll, not exactly. My husband and I are actually LEAVING Portland, Oregon to move to St. Pete next February. Yeah, I hear the collective gasp! But, I think the grass is always greener.

I think you hit the nail on the head, thakrza. When you live in a city, you see all the warts on a daily basis. Those shortcomings are usually not so apparent upon short visits to other cities.

So, Welcome! I hope that there are lots of things you DO like about the Bay area. While I certainly realize the city's shortcomings in my 9+ years here, there is a lot to like about this area. If days upon end of gray skies give you the blues, you should enjoy our sunshine. Just be prepared for some sticky summer weather. However, coming from Memphis, I don't think it should be a problem for you.

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We are really excited for the change! I have been to the area a lot (my dad lives there and I lived in Florida for awhile) but my husband has only vacationed in Sarasota and Siesta Key a few times. And he is from Michigan so I am certain the summer will be brutal for him initially. I found St. Pete much more comfortable weather-wise than Memphis in the summer b/c of the afternoon rain and breezes off the water. Memphis has none of that.

I spend 50% of my online time researching the area and there are so many things I can't wait to see and try and experience. The area is a diamond in the rough, like all of FLorida really.

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We are really excited for the change! I have been to the area a lot (my dad lives there and I lived in Florida for awhile) but my husband has only vacationed in Sarasota and Siesta Key a few times. And he is from Michigan so I am certain the summer will be brutal for him initially. I found St. Pete much more comfortable weather-wise than Memphis in the summer b/c of the afternoon rain and breezes off the water. Memphis has none of that.

I spend 50% of my online time researching the area and there are so many things I can't wait to see and try and experience. The area is a diamond in the rough, like all of FLorida really.

Well I just moved to Tampa from Detroit, and the hardest thing to deal with is huricane season, not so much because of the hurricanes but more so due to the heat and humidity during those months. But the plus side is there is plenty to do International Plaza, Ybor City, and St Pete Pier, to name a few. Alot of northern people who have relocated here so there is a nice mix of diversity amoung the people. And plenty of jobs! Another big plus is the carriers that serve Tampa airport offer such low rates that I can fly back to detroit any time I want.

Traffic is problem ofcourse, and as I said before the extreme heat from may to september is not fun. But aside from that its a great place, house prices are starting to come down give it about two or three years and it should be back to around $120/sq ft

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