When it comes to USF and the surrounding community, students probably think of them as two separate entities. Thursday, at the 7th Annual Community Breakfast, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio spoke to guests, including USF President Judy Genshaft, about her views of how Tampa and USF can grow and prosper together. The ideas that she spoke of will be beneficial for both the USF and the surrounding community and included visions of a new community park.
While the university boasts Riverfront Park on the Hillsborough River, its accessibility is limited exclusively to students, faculty and staff. Iorio has a vision for a park to be known as River Walk. It was described to guests at the breakfast as a riverfront walkway that would extend from Tampa Heights to Channelside and unlike Riverfront, would be open to the entire community. It would be physically tie more of Tampa together, while providing more opportunity for community growth. This walkway could be a place for everyone to go to relax, kayak and canoe. As Iorio explained, there is no reason to be one of the only cities to have a river running through it and not take advantage of the opportunity to create a wonderful atmospheric experience. The Hillsborough River could potentially be a big attraction for the residents of Tampa, all of Florida and also tourists that choose Tampa for their vacation.
USF has been growing significantly for years now, not just in attendance, but in structure. All of this growth is partly because the university is located in a growing city. USF provides the area with many different events and useful programs that the people of Tampa can take part in. The Moffitt Cancer center receives numerous patients daily and provides people with treatment and technologically advanced research. Bull’s Country, which was initiated last year, was the process to promote the concept of a college town. The surrounding area between Fowler and Fletcher began to connect the USF students to the community and local merchants. The Sun Dome, which is home to both the USF women’s and men’s basketball teams, also has many special events that are open to the public to attend and enjoy.
Tampa and USF are and will continue to grow for many years. The more the university and the community work together, the more both will benefit. We can only hope that more projects such as the River Walk will soon come along for the Hillsborough area.