Riverfront Hat Trick

Mayor Pam Iorio’s recent announcement to set aside primo real estate for the new home of the Children’s Museum of Tampa spoke volumes about the city’s commitment to the downtown riverfront. The property, worth some $3 million, is adjacent to the Poe Parking garage and near the proposed Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River and just north of the future Tampa Museum of Art. It had been ogled as a condo tower during the last days of the Greco administration, but Iorio never signed off on it and looked to a more public use.

The new, 25,000-square-foot Children’s Museum would be part of a nationwide trend — and could attract an estimated 100,000 visitors a year. Its projected opening is 2007. A $10-million capital campaign would still await.

Also in the wings — a Pamglossian scenario: Key cultural synergy with the new art museum and the Performing Arts Center; a leg up on downtown as more of a destination point; and the opportunity for critically important, early learning activities and experiences for children.

That may be as close to a hat trick as we’ll see around here for a while.

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