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Old August 20th, 2011, 10:51 PM   #281
Del Mayberry
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Tampa's new mayor seeks to connect Riverwalk

By CHRISTIAN M. WADE | The Tampa Tribune
Published: August 20, 2011
» 8 Comments | Post a Comment
TAMPA --
One extension will allow pedestrians to walk from downtown to the Channel District, without detours.

It was one of Mayor Pam Iorio's signature projects – a 2.6-mile walkway along Garrison Channel and the Hillsborough River meant to showcase Tampa's waterfront.

But when Iorio stepped down from office earlier this year after serving two terms, she left segments of the multimillion-dollar, three-decades-old Riverwalk project unfinished.

Now her successor, Mayor Bob Buckhorn, is picking up where she left off.

Construction is underway on a two-part, $3.5-million segment of the walkway: one portion will extend it from the south side of Brorein Street to the southern side of the CapTrust building at Whiting Street; the other will connect the path to MacDill Park.

The extension, when completed by early next year, will allow pedestrians to walk from downtown all the way to the Channel District, without taking detours on side streets.

"We're getting so close," said Lee Hoffman, Riverwalk's development manager.

After completion of the Brorein to MacDill Park segment, the city will turn its attention to two final gaps in the walkway – one from MacDill to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and another from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts to Tampa Heights.

But first, the city will need to get funding.

The first segment, estimated at a cost of $8.8 million, would involve building a walkway extending out into the river and under the Kennedy Boulevard bridge to Curtis Hixon.

Hoffman said the city has a $1.4 million federal grant to use for the 1,460-foot Kennedy Boulevard segment, but is still working on public and private funds for construction.

"I have the designs, I have the permits, I just need some more cash," he said.

Once those two segments are done, Hoffman said the city will focus on a roughly one-mile portion of the project running from the performing arts center to Tampa Heights.

Developers of the Tampa Heights project built a 400-foot walkway across from the park but, falling victim to the housing crisis, didn't connect to the city's portion of the project.

Hoffman said previous estimates put the cost for extending that section of the walkway, from the performing arts center to North Boulevard bridge, at more than $4 million.

Conceived by former Mayor Bill Poe in the mid-1970s, Riverwalk has been plagued by a series of setbacks caused by a lack of funding and problems acquiring private land.

Several successive mayors made contributions to the walkway, earmarking funds or adding segments, but the project didn't gain momentum until Iorio took the helm.

She oversaw the design and construction of key portions of the pathway, but was forced to turn her attention to wrestling with the city's troubled finances during her final term.

Ultimately, the project – which is nearly 50 percent complete – will cost about $30 million from Channelside to the performing arts center. That's less than the original estimates of more than $40 million, which included a number of amenities that have been removed.

Buckhorn, who made completing the Riverwalk project one of his campaign pledges, has earmarked $810,000 in gas tax proceeds for the project in the fiscal year 2012 budget.


* * * * *

City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern said she wants to see the city complete the downtown segments of the project, but has "mixed feelings" about using additional public funding.

"It's not a good time for the city to be spending taxpayers' money," she said.

Mulhern said she wants the city to get more aggressive going after grants and private dollars to complete the project. "That's how it was supposed to work," she said.

Hoffman said the city is doing just that, courting the private sector and going after state and federal grants, but admits the recession has made those efforts extremely difficult.

Roger Kurz, executive director of the Friends of Tampa Riverwalk, said his nonprofit has raised about $2 million in contributions for the project to date, at least half of the money from a nonprofit run by Tampa developer Don Wallace and his wife, Erika.

He said the group has also embarked on a fundraising campaign that offers individuals and companies discounts to downtown venues – including the Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Bay History Museum – in exchange for a yearly membership with the group.

Money raised from the memberships would go toward construction costs.

The group is also actively going after "big ticket" donors such as large corporations.

"Still, as everyone knows, this is not an easy time to be raising money," Kurz said.

Riverwalk backers were also encouraged by the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization's recent decision to elevate funding requests to complete the remaining segments on a list of local projects awaiting state and federal funding.

Harry Cohen, who chairs council's finance committee, said he too thinks the city needs to complete the project, but cautioned that that might not happen soon.

"Given the fiscal constraints, it may take us a while to get to that point," he said.

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Old August 20th, 2011, 11:25 PM   #282
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Mayberry View Post
Ultimately, the project – which is nearly 50 percent complete – will cost about $30 million from Channelside to the performing arts center. That's less than the original estimates of more than $40 million, which included a number of amenities that have been removed.
AKA, we get an okay sidewalk from Channelside to the Straz Center. $10 million could add in amenities to convince people to actually walk it. More restrooms, shaded areas, probably some retail space.

I hate complaining at all, but it seems like the things that Tampa does goes without complaining about it. Cheap, lackluster, ordinary, and so on. They either don't give a damn or they give a damn but look for the least expensive give a damn way in performing it. "Better something than nothing" my ass from now on, do something in this city that will be original and stop caving in to the whole hysteria that a penny to add a flower into the project is overspending.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 12:13 AM   #283
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Quote:
Once those two segments are done, Hoffman said the city will focus on a roughly one-mile portion of the project running from the performing arts center to Tampa Heights.

Developers of the Tampa Heights project built a 400-foot walkway across from the park but, falling victim to the housing crisis, didn't connect to the city's portion of the project.

Hoffman said previous estimates put the cost for extending that section of the walkway, from the performing arts center to North Boulevard bridge, at more than $4 million.
What is "the park" (Water Works?) and where is this walkway?
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Old August 21st, 2011, 12:56 AM   #284
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AKA, we get an okay sidewalk from Channelside to the Straz Center. $10 million could add in amenities to convince people to actually walk it. More restrooms, shaded areas, probably some retail space.
Since most of the remaining segment is out over the river and no where near land - so there will be no amenities of note - (which is idiotic, of course) who cares. People will walk it but it will not add much unless new buildings get built.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 12:57 AM   #285
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What is "the park" (Water Works?) and where is this walkway?
At first, I was thinking that they were talking about Blake High since that is across from the Heights project and denied it. But looking at the satellite photos, it does seem like there is a newer walkway there and has more greenery compared to the rest of the walkway that goes south.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 01:15 AM   #286
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiley View Post
Since most of the remaining segment is out over the river and no where near land - so there will be no amenities of note - (which is idiotic, of course) who cares. People will walk it but it will not add much unless new buildings get built.
We don't even know what they define as amenities. The 2010 plan has so many things included between Channelside and Curtis Hixon that I wonder if they will be included. The plan has many signage, phone booths, lighting features. And I never noticed, but the plan also includes two cafes. One between MacDill Park and the Sheraton Hotel and another right next to the Harbour Island Bridge. Two cafes that would benefit the Riverwalk well and now I have to wonder if those were scrapped.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 04:21 AM   #287
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Quote:
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At first, I was thinking that they were talking about Blake High since that is across from the Heights project and denied it. But looking at the satellite photos, it does seem like there is a newer walkway there and has more greenery compared to the rest of the walkway that goes south.
Yeah, good call. I don't think I've ever paid any attention to it before.
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Old August 21st, 2011, 09:00 PM   #288
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TampaMike View Post
AKA, we get an okay sidewalk from Channelside to the Straz Center. $10 million could add in amenities to convince people to actually walk it. More restrooms, shaded areas, probably some retail space.

I hate complaining at all, but it seems like the things that Tampa does goes without complaining about it. Cheap, lackluster, ordinary, and so on. They either don't give a damn or they give a damn but look for the least expensive give a damn way in performing it. "Better something than nothing" my ass from now on, do something in this city that will be original and stop caving in to the whole hysteria that a penny to add a flower into the project is overspending.
Things that are present on the Riverwalk today (in its incomplete state): two playgrounds, two museums, bike rentals, boat docking (in multiple spots), an outside bar that has live music, a water taxi, etc etc. It also connects into a major cruise ship terminal, I don't think it will have any troubles once completed (and then improved--no one said that after it all connects nothing can be added).
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Old August 24th, 2011, 10:57 PM   #289
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There is also that space between Curtis Hixon park and the parking garage under Kiley Gardens. I understood it was for future cafe/restaurant space.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 03:46 AM   #290
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Sept. 2011 Update
http://www.tampagov.net/dept_riverwa...ember_2011.pdf
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Old October 7th, 2011, 03:47 AM   #291
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Riverwalk receiving more boat slips
http://www.tampabay.com/news/growth/...-docks/1195469
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Old October 19th, 2011, 06:48 AM   #292
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Cruise ship docks might be open to public, added to Riverwalk plan.
http://www.tampabay.com/news/busines...public/1197345

Maybe we will get the Riverwalk all the way up to Garrison Channel.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 07:42 AM   #293
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I really hope that they could open it up.

I recall the first time I visited channelside nearly ten years ago, trying to find a way around to the actual waterfront, only to be let down.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 04:21 PM   #294
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Channelside may as well be off the waterfront, since there is no interaction with it. Too bad the Cruise terminal can't be relocated, but I guess the plaza needs all the cruisers close by to possible spend money. I don't know how important the cruise terminals are to being on the DT pennisula, so I may be off here. It would be cool though if the strip of land between Channelside and Ybor channel was park/public use space including riverwalk and trails all the way up into Ybor. Maybe more land for the Aquarium to expand on. The Cruise ship terminals then could be docked on the east side of Ybor Channel. A public Marina could be built in Ybor channel along the west side. Probably a bad idea for the cruise business, but good for Channelside and Ybor residents.
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Old October 20th, 2011, 10:59 PM   #295
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I know this isn't directly on the riverwalk, but the building is. Sorry if this shouldn't be here.

Quote:
Kahwa Cafe Grows to Conquer Tampa Bay!
After their second straight win as Best of the Bay's Best Coffee Shop, Kahwa Cafe has now set its sights on satisfying coffee lovers across the bay! Kahwa’s next location is in the atrium of the Rivergate Building (you know the building in downtown Tampa shaped like a beer can?) which has a new owner making some much needed changes. So if you live in the ‘Burg but commute to Tampon (we kid)--now you know. Owners Raphael and Sarah Perrier are planning to have a third Kahwa cafe open by December or January. Stay tuned!
If you haven't heard of Kahwa it's a coffee shop that started in Downtown St.Pete, and it now had two locations downtown. It's really good.

http://downtownstpete.ilovetheburg.c...ahwas-3rd/3245
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Old October 21st, 2011, 08:12 PM   #296
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From that blog that a friend sent me:

Quote:
On the Waterfront

In a report that could be related, or maybe it isn’t, the Mayor of Tampa has proposed looking into ways to open the waterfront at Channelside. (See here and here) Tampasphere is extremely happy someone has finally addressed this issue. As the Mayor said:

”I think there may be other ways to mitigate the security issues and at the same time open up what I think is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in downtown Tampa.”

Truly, the Riverwalk presently ends at a street corner with a parking lot – not exactly inspiring.

The response from the Director was:

“The question is, can we open it up more frequently and for longer periods of time?” he said. Also, he added, are the issues of how much that would cost and who would pay the bills.

Well, Channelside is owned by the Port, so maybe that helps answer whose job it is to answer the second question.

Moreover, anyone who has been to Channelside can see that, with the water cut off, the design of Channelside if quite flawed because it cuts people off from the logical focus of the complex and reason it is different from other entertainment locations. It is logical to conclude that maintaining the status quo is bad for business at Channelside which, as we noted, is owned by the port. Tampasphere is aware of security concerns surrounding the working wharf, but there has to be some way to open the waterfront, at least when ships are not in. The waterfront is a great asset that has been wasted for far too long. Once again, we get the issues. Now, what is the port’s vision for rectifying this?
http://tampasphere.wordpress.com/201...up-10-21-2011/
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Old October 22nd, 2011, 04:35 AM   #297
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The extending Riverwalk out towards the channel might be a problem with the cruise terminal, so the idea of the restaurant there with the extending Riverwalk can be move to the north side. Of course add many trees, bushes, and other plants to the overall idea. What else could be added to a park in Channelside?

-Red Buildings are Retail/Restaurant
-Light Blue is Hotel/Parking
-Light Orange is Child Playground
-Orange is Pavilions and Grills
-Dark Blue is Amphitheater
-Black Dots can be Public Art or Sculptures


image hosted on flickr

Channelside by TampaMike2, on Flickr
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Old October 23rd, 2011, 03:51 AM   #298
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What else could be added to a park in Channelside?
Nothing, because there isn't a chance in hell that all that land will become a park.
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Old October 23rd, 2011, 05:21 AM   #299
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Well, I'm not going to allow it to be anything else than a park. Be stupid to ruin that whole area with high-rises and other developments. Hotel area I don't mind becoming around the same height as the Towers of Channelside since you have the parking garage right across the street from it. But I would not allow the residents at the Place and the other "smaller" developments to be boxed in by taller developments. And the residents of Channelside have all the rights to an park as the residents at Skypoint and Element do with Curtis Hixon.

It's either the area next to Ybor Channel or the ConAgra site that becomes a park and I would rather focus more skyscraper development on the ConAgra site, especially with adding more retail along Meridian Dr. And that plan pretty much makes up 1/3 of the whole area of land next to Ybor Channel. I'm having trouble figuring out what would be best for the rest of it. haha
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Last edited by TampaMike; October 23rd, 2011 at 05:37 AM.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 03:45 AM   #300
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there isn't a chance in hell that all that land will become a park
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