The New Tampa All Abilities Park, which has been in the works since 2018, could be open by the end of this year.
Tampa City Councilman Luis Viera, who represents New Tampa in District 7, says that although he hasn’t yet heard of an official opening date, he is hoping the park — which will cater to children with autism and other sensory and cognitive challenges, can open sometime next month.
The city broke ground back on the park on Feb. 14.
“The All Abilities Park is coming along great,” says Viera, who excitedly posted these pictures on his Facebook page recently. Viera has spearheaded the park’s development since first winning office in 2016. His older brother Juan is on the autistic spectrum.
The full-fledged autism/sensory park will be the first of its kind in Tampa. Tens of thousands of kids in the New Tampa area and beyond are projected to use the park once it opens.
The 10,000-sq.-ft. park will include play pieces that are wheelchair accessible and geared towards those with sensory challenges. Other sensory areas and colorful murals highlight a nature theme.
The park, which will cost roughly $2 million, paid for by the city and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funding, will be available to everyone.
“I am grateful for the hard work of our city staff,” says Viera, a New Tampa resident. “I have worked for five years to get this park created and it is wonderful to see how beautiful it is. More than anything, this park is a symbol to families raising children with special needs that they do have a place at the table in our city.”