Sponge Capital of the World - Tarpon Springs, Florida
Located on the scenic Anclote River, the City of Tarpon Springs is one of the most charming communities in the Tampa Bay area. Famous for its historic sponge industry and Greek heritage, the city maintains a strong historic preservation program. Its downtown is also known for its cultural treasures, antique shops, historic neighborhoods, and the Sponge Docks. The Pinellas Trail passes through this area. An extensive industrial area is located north of the Anclote and the marine industry remains a backbone of this waterfront city.
Major area employers include Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital, St. Lukes Cataract & Laser Institute, The Westin Innisbrook Resort, A-B-C Packaging Machine Corp., Acme Sponge & Chamois Co., Stamas Yacht, Hawkins Construction, Tarpon Stainless Fabricators, and NuWaveSpaControls.
There are tourism related opportunities, including hotels, retail, office and mixed-use projects within its 226-acre Community Redevelopment Area (CRA). A Special Area Plan for its CRA and Sponge Docks encourages redevelopment with programs like density transfers, and facade and restaurant recruitment grant programs.
A large industrial area north of the Anclote is a primary employment district containing substantial vacant acreage suitable for light industrial, high-wage employment, mixed use and recreational development. A former Stauffer Chemical Company site located on 130 acres in this area is a prime redevelopment site.