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Tampa's Riverwalk among finalists for 'Great Places in America'

Tampa's Riverwalk could be deemed one of America's favorite places, according to the American Planning Association. All it needs is to capture that title are votes.

The Riverwalk is one of five finalists nationwide in the people's choice category of the "Great Places in America," as chosen through an online poll. The award is meant to recognize places where a city has helped bring together and support its community.

Voting began on Oct. 17 and will run until Nov. 2, allowing city planners and the community to vote for their favorite place. Votes are cast online at the American Planning Association website.

The Riverwalk runs along the east bank of the Hillsborough River and hosts a plethora of shops and business, seven event parks and Amelie Arena. It's become a prominent attraction for downtown Tampa and has played host to events such as the Mayor's River of Green, the lighted holiday boat parade and the monthly fourth Friday event.

Developers are still working to improve the downtown destination, including an ambitious project -- Riverwalk Place -- that will bring the tallest tower to Florida's west coast.

"As a vision that took 40 years and six mayors to complete, the Riverwalk has truly transformed this city," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a news release. "We no longer look at the river as a barrier but as a central gathering place for visitors flocking to Tampa and residents who are rediscovering Tampa's urban corps. The Riverwalk truly has something for everyone, whether you're exercising, biking, exploring on a Segway, or using it was a path to get to some of our amazing new restaurants and riverfront parks the newly completed promenade has opened up endless possibilities for Tampa's future."

It's competing against the Uncas Leap Heritage Area in Norwich, Conn.; Katy Trail in Missouri; the Detroit Riverfront in Detroit; and the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

Last year's winner was the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, S.C., garnering 51,600 votes last year.

Contact Devin Rodriguez at or follow @devlinspooks on Twitter.