An event 40 years in the making will take place Saturday in downtown Tampa.

  • Last segment of Tampa Riverwalk completed, opening to the public
  • Completed Riverwalk stretches from Tampa Heights to Channelside
  • Officials, the 40-year project comes in at a little less than 3 miles and cost an estimated $33 million

After plenty of snags along the way, the city of Tampa will open the final segment of the Riverwalk tomorrow. With its opening, patrons can walk from Water Works Park in the Tampa Heights area to Channelside Bay Plaza.

The final segment of the Riverwalk was scheduled to be completed by April, but the fatory where the walkway materials were manufactured sustained a fire a few months ago, causing delays.

Crews are putting the final touches on the almost three-mile walkway, which was an idea from Mayor Bill Poe in 1975. In fact, wooden planks were installed along the waterfront a year later where the current Curtis Hixon Park sits.

But it took five more mayors and another 39 years to complete the project.

"There were a few setbacks here and there, some totally unseen, but I know the public is very excited to have this section open," said Shaun Drinkard, who is with Friends of the Riverwalk. "Now, [we] really have the entire Riverwalk completed and people can move from Tampa Heights to the Channel District and come into downtown on the waterfront."

Drinkard said the completed Riverwalk is an asset for the entire community and will likely spark of more development downtown.

"Public spaces are of great importance in big urban spaces in major cities," Drinkard said. "It’s the place the community gathers, so the waterfront, this is an asset that Tampa has not been utilizing for a number of years and we now have the capability for seven different parks and 2.3 miles of waterfront to be accessible to the community."

Among the events planned for Saturday, is a free scavenger hunt from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.