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Tampa Bay is not the name of a city

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mario Núñez has robust opinions about how Tampa must be promoted.

“Tampeño,” mentioned Núñez, host of the Tampa Natives Show, which celebrates the city’s historical past. “End of debate.”

The Tampa flag?

“Horrible,” he mentioned. “End of debate.”

But one Tampa-centric query specifically makes Núñez’s blood boil hotter than a pot of crab chilau. What does he assume of the time period Tampa Bay to explain the space?

“I hate it,” he mentioned. “Tampa Bay is water. Tampa Bay does not have a zip code. Therefore it does not physically exist.”

Actually, it was once a bodily place with a mailing tackle, however extra on that later.

Since the Nineteen Seventies, Tampa Bay has been the nationwide, established, and all-encompassing name for the group of cities round the water. Decades later, locals stay divided over the time period, with residents on each side of the bridge fearing it is robbing cities of their individuality.

“The problem is that it was intended to clarify the region, but is now used as the name of the cities,” Núñez mentioned. “It was imagined to be the Tampa Bay space, nevertheless it was shortened to Tampa Bay and triggered confusion. How many instances have we heard a soccer announcer say Tampa is Tampa Bay or a baseball announcer say St. Pete is Tampa Bay?”

The response

The Tampa Bay Times usually receives offended and derisive emails, calls, and social media messages over the use of the time period Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay History Center and Visit Tampa Bay say they do, too.

Tampa seems to be extra enthusiastic about the difficulty, no less than on social media.

In Facebook teams devoted to recollections of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, the Times requested residents how they felt about their cities being grouped in Tampa Bay.

Within 24 hours, nobody from both Pinellas County city responded, however almost 200 from Tampa did.

“People live in Tampa. Fish live in Tampa Bay,” responded Guido Maniscalco, Tampa City Councilman.

“I grew up in Tampa. Not Tampa Bay,” commented Lynette Boyd-Fleming. “It feels to me like the city is attempting to be renamed once I hear information anchors and others discuss with Tampa as the Bay.”

“I think it’s so silly how everyone feels so offended by Tampa Bay,” wrote Monica Mendez-Oestling. “A third-generation Tampa native, I can understand the difference between Tampa, the city, and Tampa Bay, the area.”

“Tampa = Merry Christmas. Tampa Bay = Happy Holidays,” wrote Dylan Breese. “You are included. The different one would not like St. Pete.”

Joey Vars, the historian of the Belleview-Biltmore Hotel and curator of the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, anticipated the Pinellas’ apathy.

“As a local, I don’t take much offense to it and don’t see much,” he mentioned. “Every time we look into the water, we see Tampa Bay. So we’re part of Tampa Bay. People only get angry when they don’t want their city crammed in with Tampa.”

The limits

Aside from being a physique of water, what does Tampa Bay embody?

There would not appear to be a consensus. Visit Tampa Bay is Hillsborough County’s tourism arm. But Visit St. Pete/Clearwater additionally describes itself as half of Tampa Bay.

“I look at it as Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco,” mentioned Steve Hayes, CEO of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. “But you could probably consult Manatee and Sarasota if you wanted a broader picture.”

The Tampa Bay space regional transportation authority contains Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee, and Hernando as half of Tampa Bay however not Sarasota. The Tampa Bay Partnership says its coalition of regional enterprise leaders contains the similar 5 counties, plus Sarasota, Citrus and Polk.

Patrick Harrison, Visit Tampa Bay’s chief advertising and marketing officer, mentioned Tampa Bay may even “prolong as far south as Collier County … It’s a regional nickname. It’s not simply a physique of water anymore.”

The Tampa Bay History Center payments itself as a regional museum, however that area is troublesome to outline.

“Hillsborough used to include what we know today as Ocala, Lake Okeechobee, Hernando, Port Charlotte, Pinellas and Manatee,” mentioned Rodney Kite-Powell of the History Center. “So we tell those early stories.”

When it involves more moderen historical past, the middle sticks principally to Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco, however may enterprise additional afield.

“There are no clear boundaries when telling the history and stories of this area,” mentioned Kite-Powell. “But before there was Tampa, there was Tampa Bay.”

The historical past

It’s not unusual for a city to be named after a bay.

There is Coos Bay in Oregon, Green Bay in Wisconsin and Bodega Bay in California.

And Tampa Bay was the authentic name for what would turn out to be the city of Tampa. Yes, actually.

The name Tampa Bay first appeared on maps to explain the physique of water in the 1760s when England purchased Florida from Spain and commenced “anglicizing” Florida, Kite-Powell mentioned. Then, when Fort Brooke was in-built what is now the Water Street neighborhood in the 1820s, the navy named the space Tampa Bay.

“If you wanted to refer to the area before there were cities, what else would you say, the Greater Fort Brooke region?” mentioned Andy Huse, a librarian at the University of South Florida.

On November 21, 1831, the space acquired its first put up workplace.

“The post office was originally incorporated as Tampa Bay,” mentioned Jenny Lynch, historian of the United States Post Office. “The name of the post office was changed to Tampa on September 13, 1834.”

However, letters continued to discuss with the space as Tampa Bay.

The University of Oklahoma has 127 pages of letters written to and from Fort Brooke from 1837 to 1839. The Times counted that Tampa Bay was used 77 instances and Tampa 24 instances as a date line or space description.

Tampa was integrated as a village in 1849, organized as a city in 1853, and integrated as a city in 1887.

Still, “numerous letters and maps from the 1840s through the mid-1880s referred to Tampa Bay generally, both in a military context … and as a potential tourist destination,” Kite-Powell mentioned. “The explosive growth of the mid-1880s coincided with the diminished use of Tampa Bay as a regional identifier.”

Even then, Tampa’s first main vacationer vacation spot was known as the Tampa Bay Hotel when it opened in 1891. Today this constructing is half of the University of Tampa campus.

In 1912 land that had beforehand been half of Hillsborough was integrated as Pinellas and the new county tried to ascertain its personal id.

The advertising and marketing

Tampa Bay was nonetheless used to explain the space in the early 1900s, however Suncoast emerged as a Pinellas tourism model in the Nineteen Sixties. Citizen and authorities businesses have additionally adopted it.

The time period is nonetheless utilized by the County Transit Authority and Fire and Rescue District, which incorporates the communities of Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Indian Rocks Beach, and Indian Shores. But Suncoast was phased out as a tourism model, largely because of Tampa Bay’s reputation.

The late Leonard Levy, who is credited with serving to deliver the Buccaneers to Tampa, as soon as advised the Times that soccer is behind the nationwide utilization of the time period Tampa Bay. Business and political leaders feared Tampa was too small for the NFL however knew they might entice a staff by advertising and marketing an space that features St. Petersburg and Clearwater. For this cause, when the NFL awarded the franchise to the city in 1974, the staff was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and not the Tampa Buccaneers.

The addition of different sports activities groups additional fueled the name.

The Lighting are primarily based in Tampa and the Rowdies and Rays are primarily based in St. Petersburg, however each are named Tampa Bay to evoke fandom from each side of the bridge.

“I do not even prefer it when our sports activities groups drive previous Tampa Bay. Should be Tampa Buccaneers and Tampa Lightning,” Chris Espinosa mentioned on Facebook.

Núñez thinks the Rays and Rowdies ought to use St Petersburg. “Let them promote their city,” he mentioned.

Busch Gardens added Tampa Bay to its name in 1993 and Tampa’s Convention Center did so in 2001. The St. Petersburg Times grew to become the Tampa Bay Times in 2012. The Port of Tampa modified its name to Port Tampa Bay in 2014.

“It rolls off the tongue,” Núñez mentioned. “That’s simple to say. Hey hi there Tampa Bay. Hello Tampa Bay. I get it. But it changed Tampa.”

At least Tampa is in the Tampa Bay name, mentioned Manny Leto, government director of Preserve the ‘Burg, which works to save lots of St. Petersburg’s historic buildings. “St. Pete has a totally different really feel and vibe to Tampa and is not notably eager on committing to Tampa. So much of individuals I do know from St. Pete would somewhat be in their very own city than in Tampa Bay.”

This was demonstrated in 2012 when mail processing facilities had been moved from St. Petersburg to Tampa and the US Postal Service introduced that St. Petersburg mail could be postmarked Tampa or another stamp reflecting the area, comparable to . B. Tampa Bay.

City, enterprise and civic leaders spoke out in opposition to the measure, saying it could strip St. Petersburg of its id. The determination was overturned.

Still, Tampa native Leto mentioned of the Tampa Bay debate, “I feel like I hear it more in Tampa.”

But in 2019, Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long wrote a Times op-ed scolding the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, the Tampa Bay Chamber, and different purely Hillsborough organizations for utilizing Tampa Bay.

“The name ‘Tampa Bay’ should be used to represent all of us – Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties,” she wrote. “Especially when it comes to issues where a regional strategy will and could bring the greatest benefit.”

Visit St. Pete/Clearwater’s Hayes mentioned his company prefers to market the cities. But relying on audiences, and notably in worldwide markets, there are occasions after they really feel the want to clarify that these cities are half of the Tampa Bay space because of the quantity of consideration sports activities groups obtain.

Visit Tampa Bay’s Harrison hopes locals will settle for that. The cities of Hillsborough and Pinellas are distinctive as people however stronger as a collective often called Tampa Bay on the subject of advancing the space.

“The name sticks in the minds of people living outside the region,” he mentioned, “which we’re clearly advertising and marketing.

Núñez is undeterred.

“I’ll say this until I’m breathless,” he mentioned. “I was born in the old St. Joseph’s Hospital. It was Tampa. It wasn’t in a body of water. end of debate.”

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