In mid-May, the newly renovated Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park was unveiled to the public with a weekend-long celebration. First constructed across the river from what is now the Straz Center in 1977, the 25-acre park has something for everyone – kids, adults and even dogs – but the real focus is on the Hillsborough River.
The $35-million renovation includes a new 13,320-square-foot boat-house where local and visiting dragon boat and rowing teams can store their boats, and visitors can rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards. Upstairs, the building houses the River Center, which has floor-to-ceiling windows that provide breathtaking views of the river and Downtown Tampa.
“Think of this as Tampa’s Central Park,” says Ashley Bauman, marketing and communications director for the city of Tampa. “It will serve as the anchor for the city’s West River redevelopment plan. We look forward to families enjoying the park for decades to come.”
WAYS TO PLAY
Play Cove and Splash Pad (for kids 2 to 12 years old) — the splash park is the largest one found in any Tampa city park
Dog Parks – two separate fenced-in parks, one for large dog breeds and one for small dog breeds
Boat Ramps – for motorized boats and public kayak launches
Sports Courts – tennis, pickle ball, basketball and a multipurpose sports field
Community Front Porch – gathering area with game tables and chairs surrounded by large oak trees
Great Lawn – can hold up to 15,000 people for concerts, festivals and special events
Public Art — the park features a wide array of art installations that pay tribute to Tampa’s history