INTRO: The long neglected history of West Tampa just got a needed boost, according to community leaders who gathered at last evening’s opening reception and fundraiser for “Our West Side Story�, at the 140 year old Santaella Cigar Factory on Armenia Avenue. The project is funded by the National Endowment for Humanities and the Florida Humanities Council, in partnership with USF. It’s purpose is to document the ethnic diversity and history of the area. About seventy people attended the opening and WMNF’s Mark Antokas was there.

SCRIPT: Maura Barrios, the former assistant director of Latin American and Caribbean Studdies at USF retired early to concentrate on her vision of documenting the history of West Tampa for future generations. “Voces de West Tampa� is attempting to preserve the Historic significance of an area long neglected. Roll Tape:

Barrios says that the neighborhood West of Tampa has always been diverse. Roll Tape:

Guillermo Portieles, a nationally recognized Cuban Artist has a studio in the Santaella Cigar Factory. He was the host of the gathering and donated ten percent of his sales to Voces De Tampa. Roll Tape:

Annie Hart is a historic preservation manager with the Historic Preservation Commission in Tampa. Hart came with a wish to preserve some of the dwindling numbers of cigar factories in Tampa. She says that all such factories were oriented in an East-West direction to maximize both available wind and air. Roll Tape.

Darlene Harris, the principle Librarian at the Urban Library on Central Avenue, came to support Maura Barrios and the Voces De west Tampa project. Roll Tape:

At the event, some familiar WMNF voices were in the crowd. Franco Silva. Roll Tape:

Maura Barrios sums up her reasons for this project. Roll Tape:

The “Voces De West Tampa� project is in its infantcy. To contribute to either time or money to the project go to: latampena@verizon.net or call 813 875 2159. This is Mark Antokas for WMNF radio news.

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