3 Tampa Parks Win Community Design Awards

The designs of three Tampa parks were recently honored at the Hillsborough County Planning Commission’s 30th Anniversary Community Design Awards.

Honoring the very best in planning and community design, the awards were given to Washington Street Park in the Channel District, Bern's Park in South Tampa and Sulphur Springs' new Springhill Community Center.

“In addition to recreational opportunities, quality parks enhance a community by adding value to the neighborhood, provide a place to gather for friendship and improve the environment's air and water quality,” says Greg Bayor, director of City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department.

Located on half an acre, the Channel District's Washington Street Park won an Award of Excellence for an Institutional, Public or Quasi-Public Space. Designed by WilsonMiller/Stantec, the $815,000 nautical-themed park opened in December 2011 and incorporates numerous elements suggested by neighborhood residents, including oversized sea grass sculptures, an open lawn area, a plaza with a large canvas shade structure, a dog run and non-traditional play area. Washington Street Park's design allows for flexible use, accommodating gatherings of various sizes.

Bern's Park in South Tampa along South Howard Avenue won an Award of Merit for Public Participation, honoring Bern Laxer's contribution to the quality of life in Tampa. Located just around the corner from Bern's Steakhouse, Bern's Park features a two-tiered fountain with bronze sculptures donated by the Laxer family and is surrounded by benches donated by neighborhood residents. Designed by residents, for residents, Laurie Potier-Brown, project manager and landscape architect for the City's Parks and Recreation Department, says the park encourages neighborhood strolling through the lush landscaping installed by more than 75 community volunteers.

Opened in May 2012, the $2.5 million Springhill Community Center in Sulphur Springs won an Award of Excellence for Public Participation. Located between Eskimo and Okaloosa avenues, the 16,000-square-foot community center is the location of the middle school component of the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA's Neighborhood of Promise Initiative. Designed by members of the community, Sulphur Springs Elementary students and Tom Hester with the City, the community center includes a gymnasium, warming kitchen, computer classroom, multipurpose room, splash pad, playground and sports field. The center replaced a once rundown block previously devoted to a baseball field.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Greg Bayor, City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department
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