Tampa seeking input on Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park overhaul

05/06/14 Janelle Irwin
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Tags: Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, Bob Buckhorn, parks and recreation, Tampa, North Boulevard Homes


Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn delivers his 2014 State of the City address from West Tampa.

photo by Janelle Irwin, WMNF file photo 2014

One of Tampa’s biggest parks may soon get a makeover. Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park has more than 20 acres of recreational space along the Hillsborough River with the downtown skyline as a backdrop. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will be among others at a community meeting Tuesday night where officials hope to get some ideas from those most likely to use the rehabbed space.

“The first step in a process like this is always to start with the community.”

The forum at Blake High School Tuesday at 6pm will be open to the public and Buckhorn plans to host other meetings before plans to revitalize the park are finalized. But city officials have been speaking with community leaders individually. Buckhorn says there is consensus that the park could stand a facelift.

“The neighbors suggested things like more amenities for seniors, more exercise equipment for seniors, better basketball courts, enhanced tennis facilities, more programming of the park for youth activities.”

Buckhorn hopes to have plans ready to go in about 9 months.

“It is a park that is totally underutilized, it blocks the river, it doesn’t lay out to a point where people would recognize it as a waterfront park and appreciate all the amenities that come with that type of environment. It’s antiquated.”

Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park is part of an overall rehab of parts of West Tampa. That includes building mixed use development in the area and re-purposing some city-owned land. But it could also displace some residents.

“if we are able to do with the West River plan what we hope to do, North Boulevard Homes would be demolished and an entirely new community will be built there eventually.”

North Boulevard Homes is a low-income housing development. Buckhorn says those residents would have the option of moving into whatever new development replaces it. The change could be a long time coming – the city would rely on a federal grant it is applying for this year and there are no guarantees.

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