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A mother's plea to restore her childhood park gaining traction after petition, city taking notice

Posted at 7:24 PM, Mar 27, 2017

Heather Ridgeway has loving memories of Wellswood Park going as far back as she can remember.

"This used to be the park I came with my mom to everyday," said Ridgeway.

But now heart ache every time she brings her nine-year-old to the same place where she used to play.

"It s so frustrating to see it go down hill," said Ridgeway.

Tampa city officials confirmed it purchased a church building next to the  park and it has sat vacant for four years. That is just one of the many issues.

"The drainage, the lack of handicap accessibility, the lighting,"  said Ridgeway.

She looked into gathering neighbors to help and to fix the problems

"It was going to be a GoFundMe until I found out the price of everything and I said that is a ridiculous amount for my neighborhood to pitch in,"  said Ridgeway.

She said it was an estimated two million dollars. She had a new idea, a change.org petition.

"It caught on like wildfire!" exclaimed Ridgeway. 

People are listening, but it's one person in particular she's wants to take notice.

"Mayor Buckhorn your legacy is Curtis Hixon, South Tampa and the Riverfront, but this is my legacy. This is going to get done with or with you,"  said Ridgeway. 

But the Mayor is stepping in. Action News took Ridgeway's  concerns to the city and spoke directly to Brad Suder with the Parks and Recreation Department.

Suder said they're aware of the bigger issues. And, already in the works is $2.5 million budget request for 2018.

But after we forwarded Heather's petition, he said the small fixes will start right now.

"This gives me a whole bunch of hope,"  said Ridgeway. "When news gets involved and I know so many people are on your Facebook page, I just can't believe the attention.

Ridgeway is not done. She has already called her local civic association and is meeting with them in a couple of weeks.

To see petition click here: https://www.change.org/search?q=wellswood%20park