Wednesday, November 22, 2017
News Roundup

Riverside Tampa park could be one for the people

RECOMMENDED READING


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Unlike sister city St. Petersburg across the bay, Tampa has historically done an abysmal job of taking advantage of its downtown waterfront.

Long ignored was the idea that the sight of the Hillsborough River flowing along the western edge of downtown might not-so-subtly change the feel of the city — if, that is, the view were actually viewable and not blocked by buildings and bad planning.

The good news: Tampa has slowly awakened to this with its Riverwalk and 8-acre urban center that is Curtis Hixon Park. Helpfully, the park even includes the word "Waterfront" in its name.

More good news: Mayor Bob Buckhorn, also known as Bob the Builder, has ambitious plans to take advantage of his city's waterfront, and not just that traditional downtown side.

Which bring us to the controversy over Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, a sprawling, well-used but somewhat shrouded piece of property on the other side of the river near Interstate 275 — a park that has caught the mayor's considering eye.

The invisible lines that divide this city can take some getting used to. Kennedy Boulevard is its most infamous, separating well-heeled South Tampa neighborhoods from, ick, the rest of the city — like where I live. When I first came here, I met SOK (South of Kennedy) people who sounded almost proud when they said that but for the occasional airport trip, they rarely ventured north.

You hit another invisible line where downtown ends at the river, even though the other side is no farther than, say, a lunchtime walk between a downtown office tower and a downtown Thai restaurant. During the Republican National Convention, Planned Parenthood held a feisty rally at Julian B. Lane Park, and I wondered then if organizers were puzzled to find they were not really in the thick of things, since downtown was right there in front of them across the water.

But Julian B. Lane is not just a big chunk of grassy green waterfront. It's a true neighborhood park.

Named for the man who was Tampa's mayor from 1959 to 1963 and who saw the beginnings of a city moving past racial segregation, the sprawling 24 acres serve West Tampa, nearby public housing complexes, Blake High School, people who row the river, South Tampa-ites who play tennis, and the Boys & Girls Club at its edge, among others.

So some who love the park sound understandably nervous to hear the mayor talking of making it more a part of a city growing up and out, of erasing the invisible line, of even a riverfront restaurant there. (This is also a town slow to grasp the fact that people like to dine on the water, which, it turns out, Tampa has.)

None of which has to mean the end of a true park.

One of the best things about downtown's Curtis Hixon is who uses it: office workers, hipsters from high-rises, kids who come from nearby neighborhoods to play in its interactive fountains. It, too, is a true neighborhood park.

With careful planning, Julian B. Lane can evolve but also keep what's best about it. Bob the Builder has also vowed to be The Mayor Who Listens and include those who already use it in future plans.

Good news. Done right, there's room in that park on the river for everyone.

Comments
Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

Hometown Pasco for Nov. 24

We want your news! Hometown Pasco is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it’s snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting event, news from your last club meeting or just a few lines thanking someone for a job well do...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Updated: 4 hours ago
Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

Cambridge Christian’s Caleb Young makes up for lost season

TAMPA — For Cambridge Christian, last Friday’s Class 2A region final against Indian Rocks Christian represented a hurdle that the Lancers couldn’t quite clear a year ago. For one Lancer in particular, it was the Golden Eagles themselves that brought ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

Bucs journal: Defense struggling to get off the field on third and long

TAMPA — Third and long, normally an ideal situation for an NFL defense, continues to be a problem as the Bucs try to get opposing offenses off the field.In the second half of Sunday’s game, the Dolphins converted six third downs when they needed 8 ya...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

Bucs-Falcons: Has this former Buc become a pass-rushing force?

TAMPA — The Bucs face the defending NFC champions twice in their final six games. As they prepare to go to Atlanta on Sunday, former Tampa Bay first-round pick Adrian Clayborn is enjoying quite a two-week run.Clayborn, 29, had six sacks Nov. 12 in a ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

Fennelly: USF-UCF rivalry needs more than directional disrespect

TAMPA — It’s the biggest football game in USF history.It’s two days and 90 miles away. USF at UCF. The 9-1 Bulls against the 10-0 Knights. It’s USF coach Charlie Strong against UCF/Florida/Nebraska coach Scott Frost. It’s the best these two programs ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Lane Kiffin knows speculation about his future grows with each victory

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin already knows what profession he will choose once his coaching career ends.Kiffin, in his first season at Florida Atlantic, thinks he is destined to join the sports-media ranks. It will provide him opportunity to switch roles...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Strong’s slip about UCF’s Griffin seen as motivation for Knights

Strong’s slip about UCF’s Griffin seen as motivation for Knights

TAMPA — While saying nothing to purposely fan the flames of the USF-UCF rivalry during his weekly news conference Tuesday, Bulls coach Charlie Strong provided fuel for the Knights’ best player.He used the H-word when discussing Knights senior outside...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Miami up to No. 2, behind Alabama, in College Football Playoff rankings

Miami up to No. 2, behind Alabama, in College Football Playoff rankings

Miami moved up to No. 2 behind Alabama in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday night, with Clemson slipping one spot to three and Oklahoma holding at four. Wisconsin and Auburn remained next up behind the top four in a week when the...
Updated: 5 hours ago