It’s been six weeks since a suspected serial killer was caught In Seminole Heights.
That’s just about the same amount of time it took Tampa police to make an arrest in the four murders that changed the neighborhood, slowing business and keeping people inside.
Now things are looking up. People say their hearts still go out to the victims' families but say the murders brought this community together. Now, business is booming and the neighborhood is growing, an economic boost many people look forward to.
“People are out and about. If you go to The Independent down the street on a Sunday night, it’s packed,” said resident Michael Ames.
That's a stark change from the atmosphere a little less than two months ago when a suspected serial killer was on the loose.
“People feel safer now that someone has been caught. Whether it’s the right person or the wrong., it’s a feeling.”
Howell "Trai" Donaldson III was arrested Nov. 28.
The Tampa neighborhood known for its eclectic atmosphere and good eats is back in business
A Realtor we spoke to says the murders didn’t hurt the home sales as much as he expected.
Rick Fifer, owner of Vintage Homes Realty, compared home sales in 2017 to sales the previous year during the same time as the murders.
“I found there were 20 hours fewer than the same time period last year. So, it’s not really had any real negative impact.”
With home sales doing well, there are several apartment complexes under construction in the area. One is on the corner of Florida and Idlewild Avenue. It’s an 81-unit apartment community with retail space on the ground floor. Developer Milhaus says it projected to open in 2018.
The Front Porch restaurant is right next door. Bar manager Garrett Radler is looking forward to the economic boost.
“I hope it continues and does become more of a unified neighborhood,” he said.
It’s a sign of growth in a community hit hard.
“It’s a really great neighborhood. I think people really want to be here and they’re not scared anymore,” Ames said.
Proving resilience conquers adversity.