TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County will soon have its very own African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center, if one commissioner has her way. There’s only about $30 million standing in the way of making that happen.

What You Need To Know

  • Hillsborough has committed $500,000 toward a planned African American history museum in Tampa, commissioner says

  • Renderings show space for art exhibits, entertaining, a café, a store and a playground

  • Millions still need to be raised for the project over the next three years

  • It will go on the site of the West Tampa Community Resource Center and the Head Start Center 

Hillsborough County Commissioner Gwen Myers said the new project would be one of Tampa’s crown jewels. The site identified for the center is where the West Tampa Community Resource Center and the Head Start Center are currently located.

“It’s something that’s long overdue in the African American community,” Myers said.

The renderings for the African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center show space for art exhibitions, an indoor-outdoor entertaining space, a café, store and a playground. An amphitheater is also included as part of the project.

The history section will highlight local civil rights champions like Mary Alice Dorsett, Myers said.

“The reason I think of her so quickly — she was my church member as well, but she made a huge impact," Myers said. "I stand on the shoulders of Ms. Dorsett. She ran for a public office many, many years ago to pave the way for women to be able to have the opportunity to serve on a political platform.”

So far Myers said the county has committed $500,000 for the project. She’s hoping to get that matched with state funds earmarked for African American museums. She’ll have to raise the rest of the money for the project over the next three years before organizers can break ground.

Before the project begins, the West Tampa Community Resource Center will be relocated within walking distance for the West Tampa community, Myers said. The Head Start Center will also have a home in that local community.

Details and exact locations are still in the planning stages, she said.