After much anticipation, the city of Tampa will officially host the grand opening of the Perry Harvey Park this Sunday afternoon, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn is personally soliciting folks in the neighborhood to come on by.
On Thursday night, a robocall that Buckhorn recorded about the event went out to thousands of Tampa residents who live near the park.
“I’m calling to invite you to join us this Sunday, from 2-5 pm for the exciting grand opening of Perry Harvey Sr. Park, celebrating Tampa’s rich African-american history and many of the families that made it possible,” the mayor begins on the call.
Perry Harvey Sr. was a civil rights leader and the head of Tampa’s longshoreman’s union.
Sunday’s event at 900 Scott Street is the culmination of a years long effort, and is a major feature of a master plan called the Encore Project. It will also feature Central Avenue, a major thoroughfare that was filled with businesses and entertainment venues owned mainly by African Americans that lived in the community.
Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles were some of the biggest names to entertain on Central Avenue, which has been renamed Orange St.
Among the other attractions include the Interactive Fountain Plaza, and The History Trail, which will feature some of the above listed notables that helped shape the community.
There will also be a new and presumably “improved” Bro Bowl located in the park. The city of Tampa awarded a construction contract for the park in July of 2014, but the construction was delayed while historic preservation officials reviewed the city’s plan to recreate the iconic structure which was built in the late 1970’s.
To ensure that the community has transportation to the event, HART will be directing buses free of charge for families of two or more people to the park.