Tampa's park manager meets local mom that launched petition to restore local park

Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 17:36:12-04

One simple word, "Amazing," said Heather Ridgeway. Encompasses the mother's emotions.

"Someone is listening. Someone is taking me seriously," said Ridgeway.

Never did she think a passionate plea in a petition launched just last week would lead to a meeting with Tampa's Park manager, John Allen.

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



Allen met not only met with Ridgeway but also other moms who bring their kids to Wellswood Park. Moms who have watched it fall apart.

They pointed out water fountains with algae and other issues.

Allen said  the city knew of the bigger issues, like a dilapidated church building sitting vacant for four years.

They already planned to request more than two million in repairs next year, but with Rideway speaking out, laying mulch down, fixing lights and creating a handicap accessible parking spot could happen in days.

Allen said Ridgeway's petition got their attention but they want all citizens to know, "There is not a priority list. The parks are for the community," said Allen.

And all it takes: speaking up. They need to know what's happening in order to take action.

"Come tell us what you would like us to offer," said Allen.

Or go to your neighborhood association.

Allen's staff frequently meets with leaders. Ridgeway now realizes a simple phone call may have led to results but she hopes her petition inspires others.

It's brought her community together and park improvements are just the beginning

"Just speak! A close mouth does not get fed. If you want change do something." said Ridgeway.

Allen said people may be surprised, but the quickest way to get their attention is the old fashioned way --- through a phone call at 813-274-8211.

You can also go the park and recreation website. And you can vote to improve your park via this link: