Concerned Citizens for the Revitalization of Temple Terrace (CRTT) began with a conversation between two Temple Terrace neighbors, Jeanne O’Neil and Ann Ross, about the deterioration of Terrace Plaza and the plans to place a Town Center on property owned by the city on Riverhills Drive. Ken Halloway joined with them and together they organized the first meeting on the evening of July 11, 2001 when nearly a hundred citizens gathered at Jeanne O’Neil’s home to discuss our strategy and study books, articles and video programs showing how other cities had revitalized their blighted downtown core using principles of New Urbanism.

Among the citizens in attendance were City Councilman (now Mayor) Joe Affronti, and community leaders Dick Bowers, George Fee, Patrick Finelli, Gloria Kares, and Rachel Rodgers. Ken Halloway was elected as the first president of CRTT, and began compiling an e-mail list.

As a result of this effort, CRTT members successfully completed a petition drive with over 2000 signatures recommending that the City of Temple Terrace move the proposed Town Center from the Riverhills site. The objective was for it to serve as the catalyst to revitalize the downtown area. The City Council listened and the movement to revitalize downtown Temple Terrace gained momentum.

When Mr. Halloway successfully ran for City Council in 2002, Grant Rimbey was elected as President by the CRTT Board of Directors, and has expanded the reach of CRTT into every aspect of the revitalization project. Among the accomplishments of CRTT and the STAR (Strategic Teamwork and Redevelopment) committee appointed by the City Council in February, 2002 are: 1.) Adopting the model of the New Urbanist Master Planner rather than the usual developer first¬model; 2.) Encouraging the City to purchase dormant properties in the SE Quadrant “From Bullard to the River”; 3.) Educating citizens about the benefits of New Urbanism and how it increases property values and the quality of life in the community; 4.) Organizing public meetings, including a special presentation by New Urbanist co-founder Andres Duany at the Lightfoot Center on August 22, 2002. Grant Rimbey was instrumental in orchestrating Mr. Duany’s appearance in Temple Terrace without cost to the city. Andres Duany inspired many citizens to believe in New Urbanist principles for downtown Temple Terrace; 5.) Conducted charrettes with nationally recognized New Urbanist planner Torti Gallas, and 6.) Tirelessly working as proponents of New Urbanism, smart growth and mixed-use planning for the downtown area.

Since then, under the leadership of two Mayors, three iterations of the City Council, two Redevelopment Directors, and the support of the STAR committee and other citizen groups, the City of Temple Terrace has had the courage and foresight to purchase the property that was previously abandoned and in serious decline. The City Council and its staff are proceeding with plans to redevelop the property despite the furious opposition to smart growth revealed in the rejection of a General Obligation Bond Referendum that called for a 1 mill tax increase to finance land, parks, greenways, roads, highways and related infrastructure. The City Council is making a concerted effort to reach out to those who voted against the Referendum.

CRTT is dedicated to our mission to bring a quality New Urbanist planned and designed development to the SE Quadrant. We are concerned citizens who have worked hard for many years to bring the dream of a new downtown to fruition. We are thousands strong, as evidenced by the number of subscribers to the CRTT e-mail list and signatures on past petitions. CRTT has been a vital force in supporting the redevelopment since its inception during the summer of 2001. We are anxious to begin Phase I of a long-term project for economic growth and to create a sense of place in the heart of our downtown.