By: Marcy Sanford

When you see something every day, you often stop truly seeing it. Steve Shirley has lived in Carrollwood Village for 40 years. He loves his neighborhood and has regularly encouraged friends who live in other parts of Tampa to consider moving to the neighborhood. But when he made the suggestion to one friend, it brought him to a new realization about his beloved village. “In 2015 a friend who lives in Westchase wanted to move to a new home. I suggested he move to Carrollwood Village and he said that there were newer more interesting neighborhoods. When I was driving home from meeting him, I noticed that our community was beginning to show many signs of age. I was a new board member at the time and suggested to the board that we begin looking at updating and renovating our community.”

Steve says that board members were immediately on board. “The board was very cooperative and understood the vision from the beginning. Bill West and Dick Woltmann were instrumental facilitators to accomplish every goal.” With the help of Walker Branding the Village board sent a survey to residents asking what they would like their community to be. “Hundreds responded, and everyone mentioned how much they loved Carrollwood Village,” said Steve. According to the survey responses, the number one concern for Carrollwood Village residents was traffic. “Many residents said they were tired of too many crashes and hearing ambulances in the neighborhood. When you come home, you want to feel like you’re entering a Village of peace and tranquility. We knew that calming traffic was critical.”

The second most important thing on residents’ lists was having a walkable community. Steve says that new lighting installed by TECO has helped them reach that goal. “You need good lighting to be able to walk and feel safe. TECO was fantastic. We are one of the first communities in Hillsborough County to have new LED lighting.”

Additionally, the committee replaced old dilapidated signs with new modern ones and was instrumental in getting miles of roads repaved and sidewalks repaired.

“As each step has been accomplished, the residents have been wonderful. Their buy-in has been fabulous and many have started renovating their own properties. I talked to a realtor friend recently and he said the property values for Carrollwood Village have increased tremendously in the past 15 months.”

There are even more renovations and updates planned for the community of 3500 homes including a new 48-acre county park that should be complete within the next year. Steve says residents also asked for more events and activities and improved communications which the board will continue to work on. “There is always something new and fresh to keep you relevant. If you live in an area that is beautiful, and you are proud of it, you’ll care for it as if it is priceless. We want to leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy.”

Steve says that many people from the city government helped Carrollwood Village along the way including County Commissioner Ken Hagen, County Transportation Program Manager Bob Campbell and County Traffic Engineer Mike Flick and the support of the Highway Patrol and the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office.

On May 12 Carrollwood Village will be honored at the 15th Annual Neighborhoods Recognition Awards Luncheon as this year’s recipient of the “Neighborhood Improvement” Award.  This award is given annually to a neighborhood or individual that demonstrates their dedication and talent to their community. The prestigious honor recognizes the best of the best within Hillsborough County. In choosing the winner, several things were considered, including the quality and sustainability of a project and leadership and character of the individual or neighborhood.