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Modern Day Tampa
Tampa grew considerably as a result of World War II. Prior to the United States' involvement in the conflict, construction
began on MacDill Field, the predecessor of present day MacDill Air Force Base. MacDill Field served as a main base for Army
Air Corps and later Army Air Forces operations just before and during World War II, with multiple auxiliary airfields around
the Tampa Bay area and surrounding counties. At the end of the war, MacDill remained as an active military installation while
the auxiliary fields reverted to civilian control. Two of these auxiliary fields would later become the present day Tampa
International Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. With the establishment of an independent U.S. Air
Force in 1947, MacDill Field became MacDill AFB.
During the 1950s and 1960s Tampa saw record-setting population growth that has not been seen since. This amazing growth spurred
major expansion of the city’s highways and bridges bringing thousands into the city and creating endless possibilities for Tampa
business owners who welcomed tourists and new citizens alike into their neighborhoods. It was during this time period in the city’s
history that two of the most popular tourist attractions in the area were developed – Busch Gardens and Lowry Park. Many of the
well-known institutions that play an important role in the economic development of the city were established during this time
In 1956, the University of South Florida was established in North Tampa, spurring major development in this section of the city
and offering many new job opportunities. Tampa continued to expand as new hospitals, schools, churches and subdivisions all began
appearing to accommodate the growth. Many business offices began moving away from the traditional downtown office building into
more convenient neighborhood office plazas.
Four attempts have been made to consolidate the municipal government of the city of Tampa with the county government of
Hillsborough County (1967, 1970, 1971, and 1972), all of which failed at the ballot box; the greatest loss was also the most
recent attempt in 1972, with the final tally being 33,160 (31%) in favor and 73,568 (69%) against the proposed charter.
The biggest recent growth in the city was the development of New Tampa, which started in 1988 when the city annexed a mostly rural
area of 24 square miles (62 km2) between I-275 and I-75.