In Tampa, plans are underway to transform the area around David E. West Park into a stormwater park system. The project, which Mayor Jane Castor called the “one-of-a-kind” and the largest in North Tampa, will collect and filter stormwater before it reaches the aquifer.
Most importantly, Castor said the stormwater park system would activate and connect the surrounding community.
“And that’s what we really need to do,” said Castor. “Is to look at all of our space and how we can utilize it to its best purpose.”
“What we’ve brought everybody together to do is to dream big and to think of what we can do that is going to be the most impactful in our communities.”
After the symposium, Sean Sullivan, executive director of the TBRPC, told the Catalyst that engaging the public and receiving stakeholder input is critical to the mission’s success. He relayed that a 12 year-old-girl attended one of the charettes and decided to go home and create a logo representing the organization’s seven counties.
Another attendee, said Sullivan, spent her evening after a charette reaching out to neighbors for their thoughts on the North Tampa plan, offering the resulting ideas to her contacts with the city the next day.
“That’s a huge thing,” said Sullivan. “That goes to show that stakeholder engagement, involving the public in the decision-making process and doing it early, can be a success story.”