Washington Street Park, Tampa, Florida
by Peg Bors, ASLA

The City of Tampa recently dedicated its newest addition to the city’s park system. Washington Street Park is located in the Channel District near Ybor Channel and is close to downtown Tampa. The half-acre park was designed with an urban, artistic, and nautical theme to blend with the urban neighborhood’s character, while still meeting its current needs.

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Plan view of Washington Street Park. Image courtesy Stantec.

The neighborhood is currently undergoing large-scale improvements to upgrade its circulation routes and street side landscaping to further enhance its livability. The park is a natural extension of these improvements. The first step in the park design process was to garner neighborhood input during three charette-style community meetings. At these meetings, local residents voiced their needs and interests for the new park. After the community approved the park’s conceptual plan, it was further developed and refined prior to drafting construction documents, receiving bids, and doing the actual construction.

Among the creative design elements for the park are spiral entry columns that are highlighted by pinpoint fiber optic lighting.

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Entry columns with fiber optic pinpoint lighting and custom sign. Image courtesy Peg Bors.

Additional designs include the oversized sea grass sculptures, with disks that shine with strategically-placed changing color wheel enhancements.

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Sea Grass sculptures. Image courtesy Peg Bors.

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Sea Grass disks at night. Image courtesy Peg Bors.

A shade structure provides interesting focal elements for the neighborhood during the day, and glows with soft up lighting.

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Shade structure at night. Image courtesy Peg Bors.

Another design element is the artificial K-9 turf dog run that was an instant success and gets heavy use on a daily basis. Every week, the turf receives a thorough washing to keep the turf clean. The park has become a gathering place for local residents, with and without four-legged friends.

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 Dog Run with K-9 turf. Image courtesy Peg Bors.

Additional features include light pole fixtures surrounded by blue neon tubing, and up lights on the palm trees. An exposed blue glass surface treatment on white concrete also introduces color in the paved surface. For efficiency, the irrigation and lighting systems are connected to the city’s centrally controlled computerized system.

Finally, the park provides a sinuous circulation path, alternative play features, and paved and lawn space designed for a variety of uses.

The Stantec Tampa office designed the project, with oversight from the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation staff and the Channel District Community Redevelopment Agency staff.  New Vista Builder’s Group, LLC did the construction work. Construction began in spring 2011 and was completed in early December. Mayor Bob Buckhorn officially dedicated the project to the City of Tampa on December 13, 2011.

Peg Bors, ASLA, is a landscape architect for the Parks and Recreation Department of City of Tampa, Florida. She can be reached at: peg.bors@tampagov.net.

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(479) 444-3469