We wish we had a nickel for every complaint we’ve received through the years about the Riverwalk, which was derided as a white elephant that no one would use.
Instead, the 2.4-mile trail along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa has proved itself a major success, attracting locals, tourists and investors to the urban core.
The exciting plans to overhaul the exterior of the Straz Center to take greater advantage of the river is an example. As the Tribune’s Christopher O’Donnell reports, the Straz plans call for “an event pavilion that seats up to 800 people, an iconic over-the-water-structure, a grand terrace, a restaurant and cafes with terrace seating” and even docks with a berth for the city’s new water taxis.
The project could cost as much as $100 million, with the bulk expected to come from private donations and grants.
The venture will make the center even more inviting, expand the kind of events it can hold and add even more bustle — and jobs — to downtown and no doubt prompt more investment in the vicinity.