Directly across from the iconic entrance to Tampa’s historic El Reloj factory sits… an empty lot. Equal parts gravel, weeds – and very little of anything else – that land won’t be vacant much longer. Ground is being broken today on what will become a park dedicated to those have worked behind the scenes with little acknowledgement or gratitude – Tampa’s cigar workers. Cigar Workers Park will be a public green space in a part of Ybor City that doesn’t otherwise offer much of either.
Full of flora native to Florida, the park will feature a fountain, pavilion, courtyard and ample seating. The Newman family “hopes to show the connection of cigars to nature and do its part to improve and beautify Ybor City for nearby residents and visitors alike.” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor, and the Newman family were present at this morning’s ceremony.
Two functional bat houses will house the 3,000 bats currently camping out in the eaves of The Sanchez y Haya building on the corner opposite the park. J.C. Newman will be starting a restoration project of the Sanchez y Haya property in 2023.
Have you ever been to the historic El Reloj factory? What impact would a project like this make on your community? Let everyone know in the comments below!