Another day, another accolade. Sometimes it seems like that as City Hall press releases remind us of Tampa niches that have been singled out for praiseworthy citation by various organizations or online entities. It’s all good, some more substantial than others. Here’s one that notably resonates. The American Planning Association naming Tampa’s Riverwalk as the winner of its “People’s Choice” award. It was part of the APA’s “Great Places in America” contest.
It’s a vivid reminder–especially to those of us whose Tampa tenure dates back multiple decades–that we have lived through a downtown transformation. Where once there was a neglected, industrial river dotted with waterfront warehouses and surface parking lots, there is now a 3-mile-long civic space that is the gateway to museums, parks, hotels and night life, aesthetically pleasing and a tourist draw. Where once there were barges, there are now water taxis. In short, and in a shout out to Gertrude Stein, there is now “there” there in Tampa. And we’re not the only ones noticing.