Not every effort to boost a city's appeal has to be grandiose. Take Mayor Bob Buckhorn's idea to open up the cruise ship docks behind Tampa's Channelside Bay Plaza entertainment complex.
The docks are the gateway for cruise ship passengers leaving and coming to Tampa. Federal and state security rules require that ports close off the docks whenever vessels are tied up there. But the Coast Guard has allowed the public to enjoy the space on special occasions, such as for holiday fireworks shows. Buckhorn wants port officials to examine whether the public can use the space on a more regular basis.
The docks are nothing special. But they do provide a pedestrian walkway along the waterfront. The mayor would like to use the walkway as an extension of the Riverwalk, which stretches 3 miles through downtown and ends just to the west. Opening up the space would also make for a more attractive environment at Channelside. Removing security gates along the dock would give the outdoor complex a cleaner and friendlier feel. And it would give visitors a better idea of what the Channel District has to offer, from dinner cruises and public dock space to museums, shops and restaurants.
Port officials expect to give the mayor a report in December. They should energetically look for ways to pull off the idea. The costs need to be reasonable and officials must balance security. But it certainly sounds doable.