This past February marked the one-year anniversary of the 64th and final historic home relocation by District Seven as part of the I-4/Ybor City Historic Preservation Project.
When the FHWA Florida Division, FDOT, the Florida State Historic Preservation Officer, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the city of Tampa signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding in 1996, the document called for a number of innovative steps to mitigate the potential environmental impact of Interstate expansion, and laid the ground work for success in providing needed improvements to the highway while enhancing the surrounding community. The steps included following an extensive set of urban design guidelines developed by FDOT and thoroughly documenting all affected historic structures.
Rather than demolish homes within the highway’s expanded footprint, the decision was made that 64 of the historic homes would be moved to vacant lots elsewhere in the district. As part of the first phase of the project, the Federal Highway Administration and Florida Department of Transportation would be responsible for renovating 35 of the bungalows. In a second phase, the City of Tampa would ensure renovation of the remaining 29.
40 of the relocated structures were placed in the neighborhood north of I-4 to reconnect and rebuild the community where the original Interstate had been put through decades earlier. Others were moved to vacant lots south of I-4 in Ybor City, further consolidating the community and enhancing the Ybor City State Museum. The project continues to reap benefits as the proceeds from the sale of the relocated and restored buildings is reinvested in the community through a revolving trust fund.