Waterfront Park Provides Central Gathering Spot In Downtown Tampa

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio's vision for a tranquil, useful, spiritually uplifting downtown destination became reality when the Curtis Hixon Downtown Waterfront Park officially opened in late January along the Hillsborough River.

The $43 million project on Ashley Drive sits on the site occupied by Curtis Hixon Hall from 1965-93 and includes fountains, a dog park, a playground, a stage and perhaps the best views available of the University of Tampa and its famous Plant Hall minarets across the river.

"Now we have our central gathering place," says Linda Carlo, marketing and special events coordinator for the City of Tampa. "It will be a place for festivals and concerts and large events, but also lots of opportunity for more intimate experiences. Every corner that you stand in at the park gives you a different perspective of the city."

Public boat docks also are available at the park, which holds 10,000 people and served as the terminus for last week's Gasparilla Parade. Monthly concerts are planned, with a performance by the Florida Orchestra scheduled for April 24.

The park's opening ceremony preceded by two weeks the official scheduled opening this February 6  of the new Tampa Museum of Art, which is situated adjacent to the park. Later this year, the Glazer Children's Museum will open, completing the new cultural district's transformation.

Curtis Hixon Downtown Waterfront Park is part of the long-range Riverwalk project, which is intended to link the downtown riverfront by walkways and parkland over a 2.2-mile stretch from the North Boulevard bridge south to the Channelside District.

Writer: Carter Gaddis
Source: Linda Carlo, City of Tampa

Read more articles by Carter Gaddis.

Carter Gaddis is a feature writer at 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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