Hidden spring now on display in Tampa - WFLA News Channel 8

Hidden spring now on display in Tampa

Posted: Updated:
Ulele Spring Ulele Spring
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - It gurgles as crystal clear water flows from the underground aquifer, and it once was the drinking water source for the city of Tampa. This natural spring was hidden and long-forgotten, until recently.  It's called the Ulele Spring, and it's just north of the big buildings of downtown Tampa.

"As far as we can tell, it's been here for over 100 years," said Tom Ries with Ecosphere Restoration Institute.

Ries says, the spring was eventually piped and hidden underground for decades. The water from the spring still flowed to the Hillsborough River through the pipe, but the river and its wildlife, like fish and manatees, had no access to that spring.

This hidden gem is now getting polished and put on display as Ries and others work to reopen the channel from the spring to the river. The flowing spring will soon be a beautiful feature along Tampa's new Riverwalk.

The last leg of the Rivewalk goes through Water Works park and ends at Ulele Spring. Two bridges will allow the Riverwalk to loop over the spring, so walkers can gaze straight down into the clear water.

Related story: Mayor Buckhorn breaks ground to restore Water Works Park

"Where else can you be in the urban part of a city like Tampa, walk along the river and see a spring, a natural spring like this with hopefully manatee and fish in there," said Ries.

The project cost $650,000, and it was paid for through grants from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

It is important to all these agencies to bring this forgotten spring back to its former glory.  There are a thousand fresh water springs in Florida, but only a few in the immediate Tampa Area.

"There's a couple along the Hillsborough River, Lowry Park has a spring, and there's one Sulpher Springs," said Ries.

This spring is at the base of the river and will allow wildlife like manatees to reach the water source without swimming so far up the river.

Ries expects the last basin of the spring to be dug out and the sea wall opened by the end of the year. The project should be completed by the spring of next year. Conveniently, the new restaurant opening on the banks of the spring will also open in the spring of 2014. That restaurant in the restored Water Works building will be called Ulele.
  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Tampa Bay woman feels ripped off, pays $61 for coins worth $1.50

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:10 PM EDT2014-07-31 22:10:55 GMT
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
    Vickie McInnis responded to a newspaper ad promising a chance to buy old, rarely-seen coins that have been sitting in a bank vault for years.With shipping, she paid $61.43. But, here's what she received: a bag of about 100 pennies, worth at most: $1.50.
  • Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Tampa Bay Water begins filling Bill Young reservoir

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-31 21:45:52 GMT
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
    Tampa Bay Water is celebrating a rebirth of sort for its beleaguered Bill Young reservoir. TBW is now diverting water from the Alafia river and filling the reservoir after a massive gutting and renovation project that cost in excess of $124 million dollars.
  • 8 on your side helps stranded Riverview driver get a new car

    8 on your side helps stranded Riverview driver get a new car

    Thursday, July 31 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-07-31 20:10:54 GMT
    Last week, 8 on your side told you about the plight of Christopher Soto and his recalled car.Last fall, Soto purchased a 2004 Chevy Malibu from DriveTime, a used car dealership in Brandon.
    Last week, 8 on your side told you about the plight of Christopher Soto and his recalled car.Last fall, Soto purchased a 2004 Chevy Malibu from DriveTime, a used car dealership in Brandon.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Closing US 301 for repairs create headaches

    Closing US 301 for repairs create headaches

    Friday, August 1 2014 12:16 AM EDT2014-08-01 04:16:16 GMT
    It’s been a headache for many who travel U.S. Highway 301 in Riverview after the roadway was shut down. But FDOT expects the roadway to be back open about midnight Thursday.After a nearby construction crew damaged a 24-inch water line in the area, water poured out and created a hole, damaging the asphalt on U.S. 301.“It’s still every penny counts, I would say $30 to $50 possibly,” is how much the road closure cost Bee...
    It’s been a headache for many who travel U.S. Highway 301 in Riverview after the roadway was shut down. But FDOT expects the roadway to be back open about midnight Thursday.After a nearby construction crew damaged a 24-inch water line in the area, water poured out and created a hole, damaging the asphalt on U.S. 301.“It’s still every penny counts, I would say $30 to $50 possibly,” is how much the road closure cost Bee...
  • New "Fire challenge" video spurs warnings

    New "Fire challenge" video spurs warnings

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:43:41 GMT
    Videos of a dangerous stunt are spreading all across social media. You can see examples on sites like Youtube and Facebook. It's called "The Fire Challenge" and involves young people dousing themselves with rubbing alcohol and lighting it up on their bodies. Burn victim and now, Tampa General Hospital volunteer, Joe Versaggi, knows all about the horrors of fire. He's undergone 30 surgeries after a fiery plane crash 8...
    Videos of a dangerous stunt are spreading all across social media. You can see examples on sites like Youtube and Facebook. It's called "The Fire Challenge" and involves young people dousing themselves with rubbing alcohol and lighting it up on their bodies. Burn victim and now, Tampa General Hospital volunteer, Joe Versaggi, knows all about the horrors of fire. He's undergone 30 surgeries after a fiery plane crash 8...
  • Haines City police officer resigns after Facebook posts

    Haines City police officer resigns after Facebook posts

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:43 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:43:17 GMT
    A Haines City police officer under an internal investigation has resigned. Amelia Inoa, an officer with Haines City since 2012, submitted her resignation Wednesday night. The resignation came a few hours after News Channel 8 aired a story exposing some of Inoa's posts on her personal Facebook page. The posts ranged from jokes about calls on which she was dispatched to racial jabs.On Thursday, police Captain Brian McNu...
    A Haines City police officer under an internal investigation has resigned. Amelia Inoa, an officer with Haines City since 2012, submitted her resignation Wednesday night. The resignation came a few hours after News Channel 8 aired a story exposing some of Inoa's posts on her personal Facebook page. The posts ranged from jokes about calls on which she was dispatched to racial jabs.On Thursday, police Captain Brian McNu...
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.