"Especially during the pandemic," says Santiago Corrada, CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. "When people wanted to be out in wide-open spaces."
But the Riverwalk won’t just be on the east side of the river through downtown. There will be a new section on the west side of the river.
"We are very fortunate to get this funding for the riverwalk on the west side of the Hillsborough River," says Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.
The Hillsborough Transportation Planning Board approved spending $24 million in federal funds for a Riverwalk expansion that will create a 12-mile loop on both sides of the river and in some west river neighborhoods, it could be a way to get to work.
"So people on the west side who do not have ample facilities and mobility issues, this will provide them a very good connection," said Vishaka shiva Rama, of the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Board.
The expanded riverwalk loop will stretch from the south Tampa Bayshore to Tampa Heights, a $30 million project; $6 million from the city $24 million in federal money.
"You can’t even put a price on how critically important the Riverwalk has been," says Corrada.
Castor added, "And it also provides those visuals for the entire world to see that we live in paradise."
The expansion gets underway next summer, but considering it took more than 20 years to get the original Riverwalk built, it's unknown when the project will be completed.