At the beginning of the decade, Tampa was a compact city comprising an area of 19 square miles. Tampa annexed more than 60 square miles of unincorporated land in 1953. This resulted in Tampa’s population growing by more than 150,000 residents. In 1955, television stations WTVE and WFLA-TV started broadcasting. Lowry Park Zoo opened in 1957 and in 1959 Busch Gardens theme park opened.
During the 1960s, Tampa’s population grew slowly and reached over 277,000. The growth of the suburbs emptied the downtown business area. A significant number of industries moved to areas outside the city. Construction of different Interstates and the decline of the cigar industry damaged West Tampa and Ybor City. The problems of the 1970s caused the first population decline in Tampa. Suburban areas experienced significant growth.
One of the major improvements in Tampa occurred during the time of Mayor Pam Iorio. She changed the history of Tampa Fl by making the downtown’s redevelopment a priority. Iorio directed the city’s focus to be on bringing residents into an area that was considered to be non-residential. High-rises and other residential buildings were built. In 2006, Bayshore and the Alagon were built. SkyPoint and the Towers of Channelside were constructed in 2007. The construction of Element was completed in 2009. The initiative to improve Tampa Riverwalk expanded the use of the area near downtown at Hillsborough River. In 2010, the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park was opened and in 2014 Water Works Park opened.