A few months ago, after being thrust into the epicenter of community revitalization in east Seminole Heights, Tanya Baker joked about her position as leader of the area's newly formed civic association.
"I told the group, 'I didn't sign up for this,'" Baker said, smiling. "I just wanted the neighborhood to be safer."
Even so, Baker, a self-described shy Michigan native who bought a home in Seminole Heights eight years ago, became president of the East Seminole Heights Civic Association.
The area - Sligh Avenue on the north end, Hillsborough Avenue on the south end, 30th Street on the east end and 22nd Street on the west end - isn't as well known as Old Seminole Heights or Northeast Seminole Heights.
But Baker, a pharmacy technician, wants her association which is a member of the community's neighborhood watch, to change that.
"I started it because I wanted a safer, cleaner neighborhood," she said. "There's a lot of really good working class people here, and kids."
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
The group first met in late 2011. About a dozen residents showed up to an informational meeting at a local park with officials from the city of Tampa. Regular meetings were organized, and Baker became the group's default president.
But slowly, momentum died down. Fewer residents showed up.
When officials from The Green Artery approached Baker about working with their project, an ongoing effort to expand the area's trail system and promote green space, Baker jumped at the chance to get east Seminole Heights residents involved.
"They hosted a meeting in neighborhoods in the area at the end of July," Baker said. "That breathed us back to life."
The civic association became official in October, adding to its board Henry Dorsey as vice president and Amy Bieganowski and secretary.
In addition to The Green Artery, Baker wants east Seminole Heights to increase the number of street lights in the neighborhood and get sidewalks installed, allowing the community to have a presence in Tampa.
"I hope that those of us that are working on it can leave a legacy for the people that come along for the neighborhood to be proud of," she said. "They can say, 'I live in east Seminole Heights,' and know that it's a nice place."
Contact the association at firstname.lastname@example.org.