Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn gets ready to unveil a new park he calls a "game changer"

TAMPA - The excitement is brewing in the Tampa Heights neighborhood as crews put the final touches on Water Works Park.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn willl hold a ribbon cutting on Tuesday,  fulfilling a dream for the city he loves.

"Do I look like a proud father?" Buckhorn beamed. "I am every excited. It's beyond words. It has exceeded my expectations."

The area had been the home of an abandoned building in the Tampa Heights neighborhood. The mayor wanted to change that. He helped secure some 6.5 million dollars revitalize the area.

The park will be complete with a large play area for children, a dog park and plenty of open space. It will basically anchor the north end of the Hillsborough River. The mayor said that's a game changer for Tampa

"I think when people see this they are going to walk away they are going to say wow! I never knew this existed!" said Buckhorn.

The city pumped in the 6.5 million dollars to give this area rebirth, which the mayor said will pay off.

"It will trigger private sector investments up and down the river, meaning jobs, meaning revenue,' said Buckhorn.

The first step is already taken.

Ulele is a dream restaurant for the Gonzmart family that own the iconic Columbia restaurant. It will open later this month. The impressive property sits adjacent to the park.

"It is a tremendous opportunity for us and a tremendous opportunity for Tampa Heights as well," said Mike Kilgore a spokesperson for the restaurant.

That's exactly the way Buckhorn sees it, not only bringing life back to Tampa Heights, but making the Hillsborough River the focal point of the city.

"This is Tampa's time," said Buckhorn with a wide grin.

The festivities continue this Saturday.

The mayor invites the public to for an outdoor party beginning at five complete with a fireworks show at nine.
As far as the restaurant, Ulele opens on August the 26th.


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