Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Water Works Park makes a splash in Tampa Heights

The revamped park offers scenic recreation along Tampa's riverfront.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 3:56 PM

click to enlarge BUCKET O' FUN: The Water Works Park in Tampa features a modern wet playground to help beat the heat. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • NICOLE ABBETT
  • BUCKET O' FUN: The Water Works Park in Tampa features a modern wet playground to help beat the heat.


Mayor Buckhorn joined Richard Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurant Group, Michael Babb of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, as well as a whole host of civic supporters to cut the big red ribbon to unveil the highly anticipated Water Works Park this morning.

click to enlarge Mayor Bob Buckhorn and his daughters Grace and Colleen (center), are joined by Richard Gonzmart, Michael Babb and other many other supporters, including members of the Rotary Club. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • Mayor Bob Buckhorn and his daughters Grace and Colleen (center), are joined by Richard Gonzmart, Michael Babb and other many other supporters, including members of the Rotary Club.

“This is a day I have waited for for a long time,” Mayor Bob Buckhorn said as he stood at the podium with both of his daughters. “Not just one year or two years, but 20 years. Think about what this used to be, but more importantly, think about what it’s become.” 
click to enlarge “This is our legacy to my daughters and to little kids all over this community,” proclaims Mayor Bob Buckhorn (shown here with his daughter Grace). - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • “This is our legacy to my daughters and to little kids all over this community,” proclaims Mayor Bob Buckhorn (shown here with his daughter Grace).

The 5-acre Water Works Park includes a large play area for kids, a dog park and plenty of open space for events already scheduled for the months ahead. The kids play area, modeled after a ship, includes a splash pad where a giant elevated bucket of water dumps water onto the kids below. A kayak launch, eight boat slips and a water taxi stop will be installed once the permits are approved. Ulele Spring, formerly called Magbee Spring, has been restored and opened to river. The Tampa Riverwalk was also extended to run through the park. Future plans will extend the Riverwalk further east down the Hillsborough River.

click to enlarge Richard Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurant Group shared his excitement about Water Works park and the future of the area this morning. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • Richard Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurant Group shared his excitement about Water Works park and the future of the area this morning.

“Three years ago who would believe this area would look the way it does today? proudly beamed fourth generation Tampa native and President of the Columbia Restaurant Group Richard Gonzmart. "When the mayor talked about his dream of converting this park for all of Tampa and Hillsborough county to enjoy, I wanted to be a part of the Mayor’s dream. It will be a destination for my children’s children and their children.”

Many events are already scheduled to take place at the new park, including a free festival this Saturday, Aug. 16, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., complete with complete with food trucks, children’s activities, entertainment, and a fireworks display. Future events consist of outdoor movies, a 5K run, the River Rock Craft Beer & Music Festival (feat. Sister Hazel) on Nov. 15 and a Tampa Heights Music and Jazz Festival on Nov. 22.
click to enlarge After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Rotary Club of Tampa presented a check for $40,000 to the city for the naming rights to the Downtown Rotary Pavilion in Waterworks Park as part of the Club’s 100th anniversary celebration this year. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • Nicole Abbett
  • After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Rotary Club of Tampa presented a check for $40,000 to the city for the naming rights to the Downtown Rotary Pavilion in Waterworks Park as part of the Club’s 100th anniversary celebration this year.

click to enlarge BRIDGING THE COMMUNITY: A free festival is planned Saturday, Aug. 16, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., culminating with fireworks. - NICOLE ABBETT
  • NICOLE ABBETT
  • BRIDGING THE COMMUNITY: A free festival is planned Saturday, Aug. 16, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., culminating with fireworks.


The park is located at 1710 N. Highland Ave. For information on future events, please visit www.tampagov.net/news_and_events/calendars/.


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