Tampa to Celebrate Grand Opening of Kennedy Boulevard Plaza Segment of Tampa Riverwalk - Former mayors come together to cut ribbon on project 40 years in the making

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Mayor Bob Buckhorn will join Mayor Sandy Freedman, Governor Bob Martinez, Mayor Dick Greco, and Mayor Pam Iorio to cut a ribbon and celebrate the grand opening of the Kennedy Segment of the Tampa Riverwalk on Friday, March 27, 2015 at 5 p.m. The public is invited to the ribbon cutting as well as celebrate with festivities along the riverfront lasting throughout the evening.

“The Riverwalk has been in the making for 40 years, and it has taken the efforts of six mayors and the support of the Obama Administration to be completed. Its construction represents the importance of the Hillsborough River as our best natural asset,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “This will be a historic day, and I want the entire community to come celebrate with us.”

At approximately 6 p.m., following the formal ribbon cutting ceremony with the five mayors, children of all ages are invited to stroll the Tampa Riverwalk before enjoying a special screening of “Dolphin Tale,” which will begin at 8 p.m. in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Food truck vendors and other entertainment, including special guests from Lowry Park Zoo and Florida Aquarium, will also be onsite. Blue Bell Ice Cream will be serving free cups of hand-dipped ice cream, including its signature Homemade Vanilla flavor.

“The Plank,” Tampa’s first waterfront pop-up bar, will also open along the Riverwalk in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on Friday night following the ribbon cutting. The name and concept are an homage to the wooden planks which were originally sold as part of the Tampa Riverwalk, and it will remain open throughout the weekend. Sono Café is a proud partner for this project and will be managing food service for the three day installation. The pop –up bar is a concept developed by Friends of the Riverwalk to encourage waterfront destinations along the Riverwalk and is sponsored by Bud Light.

The grand opening celebrations are being sponsored by Magic 94.9, Tampa Bay Times, and Clear Channel Outdoor.

The Kennedy Boulevard Plaza Segment spans 1460 feet of water on the eastern side of the Hillsborough River, running underneath Kennedy Boulevard Bridge. The segment links MacDill Park to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, and provides pedestrians and cyclists 1.8 miles of continuous, completed Riverwalk.

Johnson Brothers, LLC, which also built the Brorein Underpass Segment, constructed the segment. The total project cost for the Kennedy segment is $9.2 million, which was partially paid for by a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) IV grant awarded to the City of Tampa in June 2012 by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The TIGER grant will also go toward constructing the Doyle Carlton Segment of the Tampa Riverwalk as well as the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority Selmon Greenway. The City of Tampa recently received the permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers allowing construction to begin on the Doyle Carlton Segment of the Tampa Riverwalk in Summer 2015 with completion in Summer 2016.