DOWNTOWN — It has been billed as downtown's living room, the front yard of the Tampa Museum of Art and the Glazer Children's Museum and the most visible project of Mayor Pam Iorio's tenure.
On Jan. 24, Iorio christened Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and effectively changed the city's core.
Since then, people have kicked soccer balls, thrown Frisbees, splashed in fountains and lounged on blankets on the grass.
They've listened to live bands, let their four-legged pals run around in a dog park, and even skated on an outdoor ice rink during the holiday season.
Reached by e-mail, Mayor Iorio said she could talk about the park all day.
"One night my husband and I were leaving downtown Tampa and stopped by the park," she wrote. "It was around 9 p.m. and a group of about 10 were having a picnic at the front of the park by the fountains and some were throwing a ball. They called out to me and said, 'Thanks, Mayor Pam!'
"So I walked up to them and asked what was the occasion. They live at Mobley Park Apartments and today was a son's birthday and he wanted to celebrate in the park. They said thank you for making this a special place where they could come and all be together and feel safe even at night. … As we drove home I felt that we had built something that really mattered to people."
Elisabeth Parker, Times staff writer