Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park – 2020 ULI Urban Open Space Awards Finalist

A view of the boathouse. Credit: Albert Vecerka

Location: Tampa, Florida, United States
Owner: City of Tampa
Designers: Civitas, Inc.; W Architecture & Landscape Architecture LLC
Site Size: 25 acres (10.1 hectares)
Number of People Served (within a half-mile): 7,200
Opened: May 12, 2018
Website: https://www.tampagov.net/parks-and-recreation/featured-parks/riverfrontpark






The Great Lawn. Credit: Civitas Inc.
The Splashpad. Credit: Civitas Inc.













The redevelopment of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park transformed a twenty-five acre park that was in disrepair, unsafe, and uninviting into a vibrant, engaging, and sustainable public space that responds to the desires of the community and the goals of the InVision Tampa plan. The park was part of a broader effort to identify the Hillsborough River as the center of downtown Tampa and revitalize West Tampa. The West Tampa Plan identified this park for investment. That plan, and the park, resulted from Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s participation as a ULI Rose Fellow. The Fellowship identified a combined need to eliminate blighted housing, upgrade public housing, restore worn infrastructure, and create the park as a catalyst for reinvestment while achieving equity for residents. The park, completed in 2018, resulted from the largest public outreach effort in the Parks department’s history, and brought together four community-driven ideas: 1) areas for family and community gatherings, including picnic shelters, playground, splash pad, and a community amphitheater; 2) first-class active recreation facilities, including basketball, tennis, pickleball, soccer, and football; 3) access to the Hillsborough River – from a river promenade just 3 feet above the water’s surface, to a boathouse that shelters non-motorized vessels, to a 220 foot floating pedestrian dock; and 4) recognition of the history of the site and community through historical markers and works from three different artists. The park design included moving the seawall back into the park to bring the river closer to the people, which also created a calm cove for kayak and paddle board renters. The design included two living shoreline elements along the seawall, providing habitat for marsh vegetation and marine animals.

Visitors playing chess. Credit: Civitas Inc.
The park offers access to the water. Credit: Albert Vecerka

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