ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 11, 2022) – The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s 28th annual Future of the Region Awards named nine honorees for their notable achievements and contributions that have led to regional benefit. The Awards were presented during the 2nd Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Leadership Summit on Wednesday, April 6.
This year, Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano received the Herman W. Award for Regional Leadership, which is named for the founding father of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. The award honors a person that encourages future vision for their community and continues to implement action.
Lopano places an emphasis on resiliency and planning at Tampa International Airport because the airport’s runways are only 14 feet above sea level. He’s been acknowledged for his passion for creating ideas that introduce a better environment for his community. Previously, Lopano has been named Person of Vision by Preserve Vision Florida and Visit Tampa Bay’s Ambassador of the Year, and he also received The H.L Culbreath Jr. Profile in Leadership Award from the Tampa Bay Chamber.
Save Crystal River, a nonprofit group dedicated to keeping Kings Bay in Citrus County clean, received the 2022 One Bay McIntosh Award, which is one of the Future of the Region Awards’ highest honors. This award is presented to an organization that embodies the principles of the One Bay Livable Communities Vision, which outlines priorities for responsible land use, mobility, economic, and environmental sustainability for population and employment growth.
Save Crystal River has worked to remove the exotic and invasive species that have overfilled the springs in Kings Bay and replanted native eelgrass. Over the past five years, Save Crystal River has successfully restored 55 acres of canals and have unclogged 747 spring vents.
In addition to the Herman W. Award and the One Bay McIntosh Award, the Future of the Region Awards acknowledged organizations and leaders across Tampa Bay in six categories.
Built Environment demonstrates best industry practices in promoting compact development and redevelopment while preserving history, beautifying public spaces and contributing to a unique regional identity.
- University Area Community Development Corporation, Inc.’s Harvest Hope Park: Invest +Vision = Change is a community development that focuses specifically on improving the health and wellness of local residents. A seven-acre green space in the heart of The University Area Community Development Corporation’s Neighborhood Transformation Strategy encourages neighbors to come together and build community.
Community Preparedness and Resiliency improves the region’s capacity to protect life and property from hurricanes, other coastal high hazards, rising sea levels and increases the public’s knowledge and access to information about natural and manmade disasters.
- The City of Dunedin’s DREAM: Dunedin’s Resilient Environmental Action Master Plan outlines the plan to combat climate change in the next ten years and reverse environmental degradation.
- Hillsborough County-City County Planning Commission and Hillsborough County’s Climate Change and Resiliency Comprehensive Plan Integration is a collaborative effort to expand methods and explore tools to protect the environment, water sources, and surface waters from degradation by development.
Community Service enriches the lives of Tampa Bay residents.
- Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority’s Transportation Disadvantage Tampa Bay is the first ride service that connects five counties. This collaborative effort creates options for accessible transportation across the Tampa Bay area.
- Tampa Bay Watch’s Discovery Center opened on the St. Peter Pier in July 2020, and it informs visitors about restoring Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay Watch’s education programs and outreach initiatives encourage restoration projects driven by the community.
Economy & Energy diversifies the regional economy, attracts quality businesses and job creation, supports small- and medium-sized local businesses and entrepreneurs as a source of innovation, while investing in energy conservation technologies or alternative energy sources.
- Clearwater Gas System’s Economy and Energy Partner program with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas supports affordable housing with efficient, sustainable energy. The program has furnished 170 homes with natural gas and appliances, which provide a 68% of savings on energy costs for the average homeowner.
Transportation and Mobility improves regional connectivity.
- Tampa/Hillsborough Expressway Authority’s Selmon West Extension is a 1.9-mile elevation extension to the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. This crucial adaptation for our transportation system reduces commuter traffic through South Tampa neighborhoods.