Keith Connors

Weekdays 10a-3p

Can Tampa parks really cost a whopping $742 million bucks? One of the best things about Tampa is actually 191 things – its 191 parks. Tampa is investing $46.3 million this year to improve them. However, a new study by AECOM suggests that more extensive upgrades are necessary. The study proposes a 20-year plan to revitalize existing parks, develop new ones, and enhance trails and sidewalks. The estimated cost is $742.5 million, with funding challenges that could be addressed through a potential $500 million bond issue. Let’s take a look before we pay for it. That’s a LOT of money. Here are the latest findings and reactions to this rather ambitious and expensive plan.

We All Get Old:
Tampa’s parks are showing signs of age, despite their popularity. The plan suggests upgrading existing parks, completing undeveloped ones, acquiring and building new parks, and adding trails and sidewalks to improve accessibility and safety.

It’s Not Free People:
The estimated cost of $742.5 million exceeds available funding, necessitating alternative solutions. A potential $500 million bond issue is proposed to bridge the funding gap.

The Ask:
Survey results reveal public support for additional funding. A quarter of respondents are willing to pay $10 extra per month, while 35% would contribute at least $4 more. Less than 19% are unwilling to pay any additional costs.

Council Members Wants:
Some council members support the public’s willingness to contribute financially, while others have concerns about allocating more funds to parks. Disparities in park availability among districts are also noted. Can Tampa parks work for everybody?

Identifying Key Needs:
The study highlights the importance of bike trails, pedestrian paths, and sidewalks in neighborhood parks. It also emphasizes nature preserves, conservation areas, aquatic facilities, and improved access to water recreation.
Opportunities to purchase suitable park land should be pursued, as highlighted by community representatives. They plan to discuss funding options for future park land in July. They will consider the study’s recommendations to ensure Tampa’s parks receive the necessary upgrades and expansions.

It Never Ends, Does It:
Tampa’s parks require significant upgrades, and a comprehensive plan has been proposed to meet these needs. Funding challenges exist, but public support and alternative solutions can help bridge the gap. The City Council will carefully consider the study’s findings and work towards revitalizing Tampa’s parks for the benefit of its residents. TBT