In Tampa, Florida, the V.M. Ybor neighborhood boasts a fantastic location rich in history. However, despite its many advantages, residents in the area note that their property values are not seeing the same rise observed in other parts of the city.
“I can tell you that our neighborhood has not seen the growth in home prices that other areas in the urban core have received,” said Kelly Grimsdale who lives in the neighborhood.
She pointed out that the issue stems from a significant concentration of sex offenders residing in the vicinity.
Grimsdale highlighted that there are 91 registered sex offenders residing within a half-mile radius of the neighborhood.
“From what I can find, we have the highest concentration in all of Hillsborough County and I don’t understand why,” Grimsdale said.
She noted that 58 registered sex offenders reside specifically in three rooming houses on Nebraska Avenue.
“It is a problem because you are putting all of these at risk people in one neighborhood. I don’t believe they are really receiving any rehabilitation or anything,” Grimsdale said.
The Tampa City Council has previously deliberated on the matter, but an assistant city attorney informed council members that he did not believe the owners of the rooming houses were violating any ordinances.
“There are no code violations that I am aware of at this moment,” Assistant City Attorney Mike Schmidt said at an Oct. 19 city council meeting.
Council members reached a consensus to reconvene on November 30 for a workshop dedicated to addressing the issue.
During the October meeting, Council member Lynn Hurtak expressed her concerns, stating that having a substantial number of sex offenders concentrated in a confined area is a problem.
“What concerns me is that the Department of Corrections has three spots within the city of Tampa, from my understanding, with which they can drop people off at and it concerns me that some of the addresses are just two streets,” Hurtak said.
Grimsdale said she hopes council members can find solutions at their next meeting.
“Well, I’m hoping that city council will put pressure on code enforcement and zoning to actually enforce the code,” she said.