Residents and visitors in downtown Tampa will soon have another reason to get social.
Ping pong tables will be installed in parks in downtown, starting with Lykes Gaslight.
The project is the latest from Urban Conga
, a group of Tampa Bay creatives who use play to encourage the community to utilize urban spaces with interactive installations such as the Wall of Creativity at the recent Sunset Music Festival.
"We wanted to figure out a way to bring this idea of play in a more permanent way to the city of Tampa," says Ryan Swanson, Urban Conga co-founder.
The idea came about when Swanson backpacked around Europe and noticed ping pong tables everywhere in large cities like Berlin, Paris and Barcelona, as well as in U.S. cities like New York and Boston. He wondered why there are none in our local cities. After discovering how expensive and bulky typical public ping pong tables are, Swanson decided to design a table himself for a fraction of the price.
As an added benefit, local businesses will hold on to paddles and balls, driving people into their space. For a small deposit, people will rent the equipment and then receive their money back upon return.
"Bringing these tables to downtown will be a small but large impact on creating more street level activity in downtown Tampa," says Swanson.
Urban Conga recently received $1,000 from Awesome Tampa Bay
to build the first tables.
"We really like this project because it’s big, fun and really creative," says Rafaela Amador, Dean of Awesomeness for Awesome Tampa Bay. "We like what Urgan Conga is trying to do. We want to support that kind of creative infrastructure in people in Tampa."
Plans are to install tables in downtown St. Petersburg after the Tampa tables are complete.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Rafaela Amador, Awesome Tampa Bay; Ryan Swanson, Urban Conga