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Climate change is here. Will Tampa Bay be ready?

In a nondescript office building in Pinellas Park, a group of officials came together Feb. 11 to start figuring out how the 3.1 million people who live in the coastal plain that is the Tampa Bay area should grapple with a global crisis.

It was the sixth meeting of the recently formed Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition’s Steering Committee. Officials call it the first time local governments have come together in a meaningful way to identify, address and plan for climate change.

It quickly became clear that the group has a lot of work to do.

Just a few minutes into the meeting, Gulfport City Council member Michael Fridovich voiced concern about $1 billion in waterfront residential construction and road improvements slated for the Tampa end of the Gandy Bridge.