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Check out the revival of a neighborhood

[Times photos: Ken Helle]
The home of Eddie and Clara Serralles, a vernacular style with Colonial Revival elements including the porch and columns, will be on the Tampa Heights tour March 17.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 10, 2001

Tour du jourWhat: Sixth annual Tampa Heights Tour of Homes/Heritage Day. Twenty homes in this neighborhood near downtown Tampa will be open for tours. The neighborhoods' 25 nationalities and cultures will offer refreshments, games, raffles, music, entertainment and a cakewalk at Buffalo Soldiers Park and at St. James House of Prayer, both at Central Avenue and Columbus Drive. HartLine trolleys will carry tourgoers around the neighborhood.

When: Noon to 5 p.m. March 17.

Where: The Tampa Heights neighborhood of Tampa. It lies a mile from downtown Tampa and is bounded by North Boulevard, I-275, Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard and the Hillsborough River.

Tickets: $10, on sale at Buffalo Soldiers Park at Central Avenue and Columbus Drive.

Information: Brenda Christian at (813) 307-0007 days or (813) 228-9015 (evenings).

More to know: This was Tampa's first suburb, on a hill overlooking downtown. Around the turn of the century it was the home of prominent merchants and civic leaders. Gradually other neighborhoods and then the suburbs farther out attracted residents, and in the 1960s the interstate cut through the neighborhood. What followed were decades of decay, increasing crime, blight and neglect. Since 1990 the neighborhood has been on the comeback trail. Eager homeowners have redone the houses, both grand and cozy, and an energetic neighborhood association has promoted Tampa Heights as a conveniently located neighborhood that welcomes a wide variety of residents. The city has turned a spotlight on the neighborhood in recent years. In December, the mixed-income Mobley Park Apartments opened. Homes and lots acquired by the Mayor's Heights Project have been sold.

Houses on the tour include Craftsman bungalows, folk Victorian, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and International style. "The homes are in all stages of remodeling -- some untouched, some in the middle, some completely redone -- to give everybody a good idea of where we are and what can be done," said organizer Brenda Christian.

Polished floors and an old mantel highlight the front room and entry of the Serralles’ home.

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