Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

First phase of Courtney Campbell Trail celebrated

TAMPA — As rain drizzled down and wind whipped off the water Saturday morning, onlookers gathered near the Courtney Campbell Trail to celebrate the partial completion of a project years in the making.

Open since early September, the first segment of the trail is a nearly 6-mile section from Rocky Point Road to the Hillsborough County line, including the only motorless bridge over Tampa Bay since the Friendship Trail Bridge, adjacent to the Gandy Bridge, closed in 2008.

Construction on Phase 2, a 3-mile stretch between the Hillsborough-Pinellas border and Bayshore Boulevard in Clearwater, is scheduled to begin in January.

Once completed, the trail will connect to several nearby recreational areas in both counties, yoking a growing network of pedestrian trails.

"This connection between Clearwater and Tampa is not just concrete and asphalt," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "It is symbolic and substantive. It will allow us to do things we never thought we could do before."

Built by the Florida Department of Transportation for $14.6 million, the project was funded by federal enhancement money set aside for pedestrian projects.

Hillsborough County invested $1.2 million for benches, shade structures, bike racks and other amenities along the trail. Tampa is building and will maintain restrooms and a concession stand at Ben T. Davis Beach that are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Bicycle and paddle board rentals could be featured at the park in the future.

Despite the chilly and wet weather Saturday morning, joggers tackled the trail alongside bicyclists and dog walkers.

James and Kristin Bold of Tampa Palms hit the trail to take advantage of the incline provided by a bridge that climbs 45 feet above water.

"It's great to run by the water; it's much more scenic than you usually can find," James Bold said. Plus, it's an easy spot for them to do hill repeats in an otherwise flat area.

Allison Schwartz and her boyfriend, Kevin Craft, are serious cyclists who discovered the lure of the new trail before Saturday's grand opening.

The duo, both 29, bike from their Harbour Island home to Honeymoon Island or Clearwater Beach. They've completed several triathlons and plan to do the Bone Island Triathlon in January in Key West. To train, they ride 20 to 40 miles three times a week. It's hard to find routes to get in that many miles.

Before the Courtney Campbell Trail was finished, they rode to it but Schwartz put her foot down.

"I refused to go across that bridge with the cars," Schwartz said. The road has 2-foot-wide shoulders, a constant stream of cars zipping by at 60 mph on one side and a short concrete wall on the other, overlooking the water.

With the new pedestrian bridge, they sometimes ride from home to the beach, where they do an ocean swim and then run.

"Now that the bike trail is there," Schwartz said, "I'm game."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

First phase of Courtney Campbell Trail celebrated 11/16/13 [Last modified: Saturday, November 16, 2013 8:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  2. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  3. The people you meet along O.J. Howard Lane


    AUTAUGAVILLE, Ala. —The screen door hangs open to Laura's Country Kitchen but the dining room is empty with no one to feed.

    OJ Howard (far right) is seen in a photo from his adolescent years at Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala., on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Howard served as an usher in addition to attending regular services at this church.
  4. St. Pete Pride schedule and live blog

    Special Topics

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth Avenue …

    A local business rings in Pride 2017 with some window decorations.