Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn frequently checks progress of Water Works Park

Project expected to transform area

TAMPA, Fla. - Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn tours the construction site at Water Works Park on a weekly basis.

"How's my project? You guys are knocking this thing out," Buckhorn said as he shook hands with some of the workers.

By now workers have come to expect visits from the mayor. After all this project represents Buckhorn's vision for what Tampa will become.

"It's such an important project for the city. This will anchor the north end of the Hillsborough River," Buckhorn said.

Along with the nearly complete Ulele restaurant and the reclaimed spring, the park is expected to become a destination location.

"This is a game changer. This is a legacy project. This will be a destination that people will want to come and see. And once they do, they will be astounded how beautiful it is," he said.  

Work continues on the $6.5-million makeover that will feature a band shell, pavilions and plenty of open green space.

"There'll be restrooms. There'll be a splash pad for kids on the other side of those buildings. There'll be swings and rope activities for children. There's going to be a dog park," Buckhorn said.

Connecting to the existing Riverwalk system, Water Works Park will be easily accessible from downtown and Seminole Heights.

Paige Hecker lives nearby and is glad to see the park coming to life.

"Being able to interact with people without it being so expensive and just being outside spending time with people is important in a community. Especially in this area where there's not a lot of that," she said.

Buckhorn always believed in making something out of the location.

"This place, which was basically abandoned, I knew that we could do something better here," he said.

Water Works Park is expected to open in August.

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