Architect Joe Chillura's career in public
service began more than 30 years ago when he was elected to a
four-year term on the Tampa City Council. Since that time, he
has served a 12-year stint on the Hillsborough City-County Planning
Commission and on the Hillsborough County Commission from 1990-1998.
Chillura's most celebrated accomplishment
was crafting a solution to keep the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from
leaving Tampa after the team was purchased by Malcolm Glazer
in the mid-90s. Almost every local government and civic leader
made unworkable proposals to help build a new stadium to keep
the team in Tampa. It was Joe Chillura who proposed the Community
Investment Tax (CIT), a halfpenny sales tax that not only paid
for a new stadium but provided for sorely needed new schools,
sidewalks, fire and law enforcement vehicles and equipment, repair
and replacement of aging infrastructure and so much more.
Chillura saw to it that the Board of County
Commissioners voted to place the CIT on the ballot so citizens
could decide for themselves on the tax, which passed by a margin
of 53 to 47 percent in 1996. The new ultramodern stadium was
built and Tampa kept a team that has shown itself to be a real
winner under its new ownership.
has been involved in so many decisions that affect the lives
of every person in Tampa and Hillsborough County that it's impossible
to briefly list them all. He has served on boards of the: Tampa
Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority; the National Association of
Regional Councils; Ybor City State Museum; Fort Brooke Commission;
Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects Growth
Management; USF President's Advisory Committee and the Lowry
Park Zoo Board...just to name a handful.
Among his other important accomplishments
are: The Neighborhood Bill of Rights; Landmarks Ordinance for
Historic Preservation; Tax Abatement Program for Historic Preservation;
Creation of the Hillsborough County Economic Development Department;
Creation of the Hillsborough County Alliance for Disabled Citizens;
Creation of the Asian-American Liaison Office; Lowering of the
Indigent Health Care sales tax; Funding for Veterans Freedom
Memorial and assistance to local Veteran's American Legion Cemetery...and
the list goes on forever.
He was instrumental in the placement of a
chapel at Tampa International Airport.
Chillura, left, & son Paul relax at Joe Chillura Court-house
Square, named in Joe's honor in downtown Tampa.
Joe's 35-year career as an architect has been
highlighted with a specialty in public projects consisting of
schools, hospitals and other institutional buildings. His most
notable achievements in architecture include being on the design
team for Tampa International Airport and the United States Postal
Chillura was recently honored by the Planning
Commission with the "Person of Vision Award." The Hillsborough
County Commission named a downtown Tampa park directly across
from the County Center on Kennedy Boulevard the "Joe Chillura
Courthouse Square" to honor him for his service to the community.
Joe attended Hillsborough High School and
graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Architecture.
He has been married for 40 years to Mary Helen, a teacher at
Berkeley Preparatory School. He and his wife have five children:
Tina, Joe, Conna, Paul, and Vincent and six grandchildren (so
Even with all the above, Joe's service to
his friends and people of our community continues to this day
as a consulting architect and private citizen.