Tampa, Florida -- One of Tampa's iconic images has vanished. A huge, colorful mural that looked like a giant postcard -- became a big, blank wall. 10 News wanted to to find out why.
Ahhh... take in Downtown Tampa's famous landmarks:
The University of Tampa's Plant Hall, the "beer can building," the Tampa Theatre sign, the postcard mural with images from all over the city of -- wait a minute? What?
Where did it go?
If you've driven north out of Downtown on Florida Avenue in the past month or so, chances are -- like Kim Faught -- you've been stunned by the change.
On the wall of a two-story brick building, an enormous white rectangle took the place of the treasured postcard mural.
"I was very, very heartbroken," Faught said as she walked to her office nearby. "We came to work, we parked our car, and we were like, 'What are they doing?!'"
The multi-story white wall has created a hole in Tampa's heritage. TheCity of Tampa's website has an image of what's missing: a magnificent mural -- the city's biggest postcard.
Capital letters spelling "TAMPA" hover over palm trees and a classic shot of the city's skyline. Inside the letters are scenes of the Sulphur Springs Water Tower, Gasparilla, UT's Plant Hall, Ybor City, and the Hillsborough River.
"It was such a gorgeous picture of Tampa. It had so many icons of the area and our traditions," Faught said. "If you're coming to Tampa for the first time, you look at that mural, you kind of get the whole city in one picture."
The super-sized postcard has been in the background of countless photos -- of newlyweds, recent grads, moms-to-be, tourists, and more.
The disappearance is dramatic. Losing that mural would cost the city a chunk of its identity.
10 News wanted to figure out who whitewashed that iconic image, and why.
The company that owns the building -- Gaspar Properties -- told us they found a serious problem: moisture and cracking in the building behind the painting.
They decided to do more than simply repair that structural damage.
The company committed to re-creating the canvas for that iconic artwork.
Carl Cowden, the original artist, is coming back and he'll spend the month of July repainting his masterpiece.
The City of Tampa's public art program is funding the project. Including labor and materials, the cost is $12,000. That works out to be about four cents per person living in the City of Tampa.