Thousands of residents spent Mother’s Day weekend taking in downtown Tampa’s newest gem, Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. The grand opening marked a revival for the western bank of the city center, and it came the same week that Tampa’s parks system was also recognized on the national stage.
Tampa’s parks and recreation department was selected by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association as a finalist for the 2018 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence.
Founded in 1965, the awards honor communities that bring local government and volunteers together behind a common and inspiring vision for their parks systems. Tampa is among four finalists this year for areas with populations of between 150,000 and 400,000. With more than 3,540 acres of parkland across 178 parks, 29 community centers and other facilities, Tampa is a leader in providing a rich mix of open space, and this recognition reflects the priority that mayors, council members and the public have given to the parks system over many years. Riverfront is but the latest example of Tampa’s commitment to parks that now has caught national attention. It is a credit to the city’s definition of what constitutes civic pride.