Honest, they were going to get around to it — the new trees, the lighting, the smooth new pavement. But local officials would not have started the projects this soon but for this month's Republican National Convention. "The convention has just given us the opportunity to activate the bureaucracy," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Here's some of the sprucing up either finished or wrapping up in time for the convention. Jodie Tillman, Times
$1.6 million Hillsborough County has finished repaving the street along Tampa's iconic waterfront sidewalk, a likely backdrop for all those national television cameras. The only thing left is restriping.
$617,000 The city is close to finishing the landscaping work on Bayshore, which includes the addition of 42 new palm trees plus plants.
Downtown gateway improvements
$2.1 million A dozen downtown entry points are getting cleaned up, with new trees and plants. Those spots include Ashley Drive, Laurel Street, Franklin Street, Nuccio Parkway, Channelside, above, and the streetcar line from Franklin to Adamo Drive.
Bridges and overpasses
$246,275 New plants, lighting and a paint job for the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority's underpass at Swann Avenue and the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.
$450,000 New lighting and other improvements on Meridian Avenue by the Expressway Authority.
$300,000 New lights on Platt Street bridge, above, Brorein Street bridge, Kennedy Boulevard bridge and either the CSX railroad bridge or the Cass Street bridge through its Lights on Tampa public arts program. Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas are contributing more than $300,000 to cover the costs.
Tampa International Airport decided to break up its $20 million improvement project into two phases, one finishing up this month and the rest afterward. Visitors will see refurbished restrooms, new signs promoting the area, tourism kiosks at baggage claim, a waiting area run by the USO for members of the military and a new waiting area for travelers using valet parking services.
$9.5 million The Department of Transportation is on schedule to finish nearly all of the resurfacing of the Courtney Campbell Parkway. The work extends nearly 5 miles from just east of Rocky Point in Hillsborough to the Pinellas County line. A DOT project to improve I-275 was put off until after the convention so construction won't interfere with traffic.