Gracing the shores of what is now known as McKay Bay, the Palmetto Beach neighborhood is one of Tampa’s oldest neighborhoods, established in 1894. Like Ybor City to the north, Palmetto Beach’s development in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was lead by the cigar making industry, and three cigar factories remain standing today. The neighborhood was designated by the National Park Service as a National Register Historic district in 2012, with 205 “contributing” structures within 28 blocks. The period of significance is from 1894 to 1959.
Data provided by the Hillsborough City-County Planning Commission estimates the population at 2,200 people, located between the heavy industrial uses of the Port of Tampa to the west and the City of Tampa’s McKay Bay Waste-to-Energy facility to the east. One of the neighborhood’s most significant challenges is its susceptibility to flooding and storm surge inundation: the newly released Flood Insurance Rate Maps designate almost the entire neighborhood as an AE flood zone, and the entire neighborhood is also susceptible to hurricane storm surge. For these reasons, Palmetto Beach is considered an “A” evacuation zone.