Best Anticipated Makeover

Ballast Point Park

This quaint little park and fishing pier — off Interbay in Tampa, a little way past where it breaks off from Bayshore Boulevard — has long been a popular site for anglers trying to snag a lucky catch (or four) from Hillsborough Bay, but the park has also attracted the younger, playground-loving crowd and their watchful parents, and the soon-to-be lovers who parked in the lot facing the Bay to watch the sunrise over downtown Tampa or crept over to the gazebo or one of the covered picnic areas to make out in the moonlight. All poetry aside, Ballast Point Park was in need of a serious makeover. Plans were drawn last year, the work set in motion, and nine months and $400,000 later, the first part of the renovation project was presented at a May 20 unveiling hosted by Mayor Pam Iorio. Improvements included a realignment of the entry drive; expansion of the concession patio area; the addition of sidewalks, trash cans, benches and picnic tables; new playground equipment; a refurbished gazebo; and drainage and landscaping improvements. The second half of the makeover is set to occur in 2007, during which time the city will spend around $1 million to replace the wooden planks and concrete support beams of the 1,000-foot Ballast Point Pier.

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