Mayor Buckhorn, Community Leaders to Open Water Works Park on August 12 - Park opening celebrations continue Saturday, August 16

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Mayor Bob Buckhorn and community leaders will celebrate newly completed Water Works Park in historic Tampa Heights with a formal ribbon cutting at on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 followed by a large festival in the park including commemorative fireworks on Saturday, August 16, 2014.

"This park is transformative for historic Tampa Heights and our urban core but also for our entire city. It's another point of connection with the Hillsborough River, and will be a space for entertainment and activity," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "Everyone should come out to see, experience, and enjoy the park, the historic Tampa Heights neighborhood, and soon, a waterfront restaurant. Mark your calendars!"

Mayor Buckhorn will join Richard Gonzmart, representatives from Southwest Florida Water Management District and other community leaders to formally cut the ribbon at the park on Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 10 a.m. After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the park will be formally open to residents and visitors alike.

On Saturday, August 16, 2014 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Mayor Buckhorn will host the first festival in improved Water Works Park, complete with food trucks, children's activities, entertainment, and more. Friends of Tampa Recreation Inc. will sell alcohol, with proceeds going towards programming in City of Tampa parks. The fireworks display will begin at approximately 9 p.m.

The park is located at 1710 N. Highland Ave. Both events, including the entertainment and activities on Saturday, August 16, 2014, are open to the public and free with the exception of vendor items.

The 5-acre Water Works Park now includes a play area modeled after a ship, splash pad, 8,500 sq. ft. dog run, performance pavilion, and open lawn for events. The Tampa Riverwalk was also extended to run throughout the park along the Hillsborough River. A kayak launch, eight boat slips and a water taxi stop will be installed once the permits are approved. Ulele Spring, formerly called Magbee Spring, has been restored and opened to river.

In addition to the park improvements and spring restoration, the City of Tampa leased the historic Water Works Building adjacent to the park to the Columbia Restaurant Group. Ulele represents a $5 million renovation of the former city pumping station. Named for a legendary Native American princess, the restaurant and brewery celebrate the vibrant fusion of local ingredients. The menu is inspired by a rich variety of Native American and multicultural influences, including those of European explorers. In addition to the creative repurposing of the building itself, the restaurant will feature a series of distinctive touches from local artists who designed and created table tops and bases, chairs, doors and counters. The restaurant and brewery will open in late August.

The total cost for the improvements to the park is $7.4 million, and were completed by Biltmore Construction, Inc. $6.5 million comes from Capital Improvements Tax (CIT) project funding with additional monies coming from a SWFWMD grant.