Margaret Vizzi
Margaret Vizzi (Roussel)

July 30, 1931?
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
July 30, 1931?
| New Orleans, LA

Life Story

Margaret Roussel Vizzi was born July 30, 1931 in New Orleans, Louisiana. While studying to be a medical technologist at Loyola University, she met Ferdinando Vizzi, a second generation Tampa native who was studying medicine next door at Tulane. They married in 1953 and in September 1960 moved to Tampa with five children. By 1962, they had seven children and decided to custom build a home in Beach Park. By 1967, Margaret was a homemaker raising nine children. Margaret originally got involved as a neighborhood activist in 1963 when asked to sign a petition about business development being proposed just blocks from her Beach Park home. What concerned her most was the traffic caused by the development. She quickly realized that watching the development around her community, so close to Kennedy Boulevard, was important and she needed to pay attention. Margaret later met with Mayor Bill Poe to voice neighborhood traffic concerns. Initially, Margaret’s neighborhood concerns focused on Beach Park and the West Shore area. She started attending City Council meetings and realized that things were happening in other Tampa neighborhoods that also needed to be addressed. She began meeting with activists in surrounding neighborhoods and in 1988 helped spearhead the formation of Tampa Homeowners, an Association of Neighborhoods (THAN) which once comprised nearly 50 member neighborhood organizations.Margaret served as president of THAN for the first four years of its organization and then continued to serve as a board member. In 1990 there was a proposed townhouse development in Beach Park and the neighborhood was against it. The original Beach Park Homeowners Association (BPHOA) started in the 1920’s but was not active. So Margaret and about 12 other Beach Park residents put together by-laws and articles of incorporation to officially reorganize BPHOA and voice their concerns. Although Margaret served on the BPHOA board since its reorganization, she was never president, preferring to dedicate her involvement in all of the neighborhood issues and to serve in other roles.Over the years, Margaret has served on many committees related to planned and controlled development in and around Beach Park and the City of Tampa. Mayors and City Council members have been her friends and always respected her opinions. Margaret has always wanted the best for Tampa and its neighborhoods and has been very influential in getting things accomplished. Although asked, she never considered running for public office, knowing someone had to be an advocate and speak on behalf of the neighborhoods.In recognition of her commitment and dedication to the community and its citizens, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio proclaimed May 5, 2004 as: MARGARET VIZZI DAY.  Margaret lived at 213 South Sherrill Street in Beach Park and served her community for nearly 60years. She retired from her positions just before celebrating her 90th birthday.  Margaret still lives in Tampa and enjoys visits from her family and many friends. Read more about Margaret’s efforts to maintain and improve the quality of Tampa neighborhoods in the October 9, 2006 oral history interview given to Bill Mansfield from the University of South Florida. You can also see Margaret’s image sketched in a sculpture at Franklin St. Park near downtown Tampa, see top left orange oval.