Nick Chillura Nuccio (Oct. 24, 1901 - Aug. 26, 1989) was a two-time mayor of Tampa, Florida in the 1950s and 60s. He was the Tampa's first mayor of Latin (specifically Italian) decent.
Nick Nuccio was the son of Sicillian immigrants who were among the first to populate Ybor City. As was common in those days, he left school after 10th grade to help support his family, taking a job in the Tampa shipyards during World War I. After the war, Nuccio dabbled in real estate and insurance, then became a clerk in the Ybor City post office.
In 1929, Nuccio was helped by the many connections he had made when successfully running for the Tampa City Council as a representative from Ybor City. He was reelected several times before moving on to the Hillsborough County Commission in 1937, a post he held continuously until 1956.
While on the county commission, Nuccio found a novel method of increasing his local name recognition. A strong proponent of neighborhood improvements, Nuccio managed to get the words "Nick C. Nuccio, County Commissioner" stamped on every public works project he had approved. For several subsequent decades, his name was visible on sidewalks, park benches, seawalls, and virtually every other piece of concrete laid by Hillsborough County during his long tenure.
Nuccio used his formidable people skills and wide name recognition to successfully run for mayor of Tampa in 1956. He lost his reelection bid in 1959, in large part due to the physical disintegration of his power base of Ybor City. He kept in the public eye, however, and regained the mayorship in 1963.
While leading Tampa, Nuccio continued his efforts to build many public works, both to improve the quality of life in the city and to keep his neighborhood constituents happy. Nuccio successfully pushed for the construction of many libraries, bridges, fire and police stations, public pools, and parks (most notably Lowry Park Zoo), among other projects, many of which are still in use today.
Mayor Nuccio made it a point to be very available to his constituents. Every morning, he ate an early breakfast of toasted Cuban bread and Café con leche in a cafe in West Tampa, then moved on to a cafe in Ybor City. Those were his office hours, and he was happy to talk - in English, Spanish, or Italian - to anyone who wished to talk. Sometimes, the conversations would continue into lunch, which was usually back at Nuccio's own home. On most days, Nuccio would not arrive at his city hall office until early in the afternoon.
Despite his immense popularity in some quarters, the times had changed by the late 1960s. Nuccio's old-fashioned political skills were not as effective in a mass-media campaign, and he lost his 1967 reelection bid to the young and media-savvy Dick Greco, Jr..
Despite this loss, Nuccio was well-respected among Tampa's Latin community until his death in 1989.
YBOR CITY'S 7TH AVENUE - ONE OF AMERICA'S 10 GREAT STREETS - CITY HOLDS CEREMONY ON NOV. 12 TO CELEBRATE DESIGNATION
Nov 10, 2008; The mayor of Tampa issued the following news release: Business and community leaders will join Mayor Pam Iorio and American...