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Time capsule at Heights project holds memories of neighborhood’s lifeblood

Time capsule at Heights project holds memories of neighborhood's lifeblood
 via @TB_Times

  • Time capsule at Heights project holds memories of neighborhood’s lifeblood 01/12/17 [Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2017 3:28pm] Photo reprints | Article reprints
  • TAMPA – There was a time, before the construction of the interstates, when the neighborhood surrounding Tampa’s historic Armature Works building was bustling with dozens of homes and the popular Mirabella’s Seafood Co.
  • Eugene Jackson, center, the son of longtime Heights resident Julie Jackson, stands next to Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other local officials at the burial of a time capsule at the Pearl, an apartment complex at N Ola and W Palm avenues.
  • Developers in the early 2000s purchased and then leveled the sagging old houses until only two remained, both owned by a retired teacher – Julia Jackson, who died in 2015 after living her whole life in this neighborhood beside the Hillsborough River known as The Heights.
  • To commemorate the occasion, Adam Harden of SoHo Capital and his team threw in a special touch – a time capsule that will be sealed for the next 63 years.

TAMPA — There was a time, before the construction of the interstates, when the neighborhood surrounding Tampa’s historic Armature Works building was bustling with dozens of homes and the popular Mirabella’s Seafood Co.

@CityofTampa: Time capsule at Heights project holds memories of neighborhood’s lifeblood
via @TB_Times

TAMPA — There was a time, before the construction of the interstates, when the neighborhood surrounding Tampa’s historic Armature Works building was bustling with dozens of homes and the popular Mirabella’s Seafood Co.

That was decades ago, before poverty overtook the area and the city declared it blighted. Developers in the early 2000s purchased and then leveled the sagging old houses until only two remained, both owned by a retired teacher — Julia Jackson, who died in 2015 after living her whole life in this neighborhood beside the Hillsborough River known as The Heights.

Now, developers are poised to breathe life back into the area. They broke ground Wednesday evening in a ceremony just around the corner from Jackson’s home.

Developers, city and county officials pulled up in Infinitis, BMWs and Escalades for a walk through the dust and dirt. They grinned with golden shovels in their hands as they took part in the symbolic start of construction on a $68 million apartment complex — 314 units in four buildings, called the Pearl — that’s one of the main pieces of the neighborhood’s grand revitalization project.

To commemorate the occasion, Adam Harden of SoHo Capital and his team threw in a special touch — a time capsule that will be sealed for the next 63 years.

Inside the capsule: An American flag sent from Washington, D.C., by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, the Tampa Democrat; a book on Tampa’s mayors from Mayor Bob Buckhorn, plus a gold coin with Buckhorn’s face on it; a poster from the College Football Playoff National Championship game, played at Raymond James Stadium over the weekend; a piece donated by a local glass blower; a Tampa Heights Community Garden T-shirt; a “Visit Tampa Bay” tourism brochure; a Tampa Heights mug; a handful of business cards; a shirt and growler from a local brewery; and renderings of the construction to come.

Standing off to the side was Jackson’s son, Eugene, her granddaughter Kazette, and her grandson, Henry. They were invited to add a few things to the time capsule in memory of the woman who was the lifeblood of the community. They chose an old article about her from what was then the St. Petersburg Times and a copy of her college diploma.

“Her focus was on education,” Eugene Jackson said. “Back then, a lot of African-Americans couldn’t afford to go to school.”

His mother was devoted to the neighborhood’s resurgence and had hoped to see it firsthand. That’s why she didn’t want to leave.

She would be happy, he said, with what’s to come.

Time capsule at Heights project holds memories of neighborhood’s lifeblood

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