The Tampa City Council will weigh in Thursday on a plan to lease space beneath the Kennedy Boulevard bridge for the next segment of the city's Riverwalk.
At the same meeting, the city council will also consider paying engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol $72,400 to design and build structures along the Riverwalk, creating shaded seating areas to be known as the Kennedy Boulevard Plaza.
The state Department of Transportation owns the bridge, which carries State Road 60 over the Hillsborough River, as well as the space beneath it down to the surface of the river.
The 25-year renewable lease gives the city air rights within the DOT's right of way, said senior assistant city attorney Jorge Martin.
The Riverwalk segment will rest on pilings beneath the bridge with about 10 feet of clearance between the deck and the underside of the bridge, according to plans.
The Riverwalk will fill the east side of the bridge, leaving the center and west channels free for boat traffic.
The city won't have to pay for the lease.
The new segment of the Riverwalk will run from MacDill Park north to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The design calls for creating four segments shaped like shallow arcs that will link at the seating areas.
The lease will be the first step in developing the next phase of the 2.4-mile Riverwalk.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn said this week he hopes to see the project to go out for bid in the next two months. It will take 18 months to finish.
The project got a shot in the arm earlier this year when the city landed a $10 million federal transportation grant that will build the plaza section and finish the stretch from Curtis Hixon to Water Works Park north of Interstate 275.
Both the lease and the consulting funds will be on the city council's agenda when members convene at 9 a.m. Thursday in Old City Hall.
Also on that agenda: