By Kathy L. Collins
Tampa has many fine amenities including theatre, music, art and a lovely riverfront. The Tampa Riverwalk is an ongoing project funded by both private and federal grant money. At this point, the Tampa Riverwalk is a little over one half complete for a total of one and a half miles.
You can begin walking the Tampa Riverwalk at either the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park or at the Tampa Bay History Center located at 801 Old Water St. (next to the Tampa Bay Times Forum). The stretch of walkway is not yet continuous, but it is a beautiful walk to take either alone or with a friend.
Recently, the City of Tampa was awarded a $10.9 million federal TIGER grant which will allow the city to complete the two remaining gaps in the Riverwalk. The TIGER grant will be paired with another $477,000 from the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority to complete the Selmon Greenway.
The TIGER grants will result in 2.4 miles of continuous Riverwalk, and 1.7 miles of greenway under the Selmon Expressway. According to officials from the Tampa Downtown Partnership, these connections will provide pedestrian and biking loops in downtown, elevate the urban trail system to a new level, energize the waterfront and continue improving the level of pedestrian and biking safety in downtown Tampa.
Be on the lookout for all of these improvements over the next few years. But in the meantime, get to downtown and take a walk. You can also hitch a ride on a water taxi (at most hotels, Harbor Island, the Convention Center, Performing Arts Center and at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park) and see the view, including several lighted bridges, from the Hillsborough River. You can also take a free guided walking tour every Friday from noon to 1 p.m. Simply meet at the Lykes Gaslight Square in downtown.
On Sundays you can enjoy the Tampa Downtown Market on Franklin St. from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. October through May. You will find local produce, art and breads. This is a family, pet and eco-friendly event.
For more information, please visit www.tampasdowntown.com.