Construction continues on the family-oriented $7 million Water Works Park, expected to open mid-summer.
The park, 1710 N. Highlands Ave., will include a playground, an amphitheater for concerts and performances, a dog park, boat docks, a canoe launch and a wooden deck overlooking the river. It also will have a garden of medicinal plants in memory of Clara Frye, an Alabama nurse who moved to Tampa in 1901 and opened a hospital.
Ground was broken in October for the project, which includes the Ulele Restaurant, operated by the Gonzmart family of the Columbia Restaurant group. The restaurant will be in the city-owned Water Works building, a century-old structure that was a pumping station for drinking water from Ulele Spring.
The spring also is being restored and is the centerpiece of the park. More than 100 volunteers gathered on two Saturdays recently to plant native vegetation around the spring head, run and basin, which is big enough for manatees to visit.
Following the planting, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn led a small group on an impromptu tour and explained that with the park’s completion, the city could have three parks on the 2.4-mile Riverwalk on the Hillsborough River hosting events at the same time.