TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The City of Tampa is reconnecting with the west and bringing much of the city together thanks to a new federal grant. One of the more popular attractions to the city, the Riverwalk, is expanding and city leaders say it is transforming Tampa’s tomorrow.

“We have so much going on that is happening in the West Tampa area,” said Mayor Jane Castor.

It all starts on the west side of the Hillsborough River. With $24 million in federal funding, the City of Tampa is planning on adding more than 12 miles of pathway connecting neighborhoods north of the downtown area and along the river. Local leaders are hoping to create affordable housing, more ways to enjoy the waterfront and create opportunities for businesses and job growth.

“It’s going to lift our small business owners that will be attracted to a place like this. It will have more customers at a time when they really need that shot in the arm. And all of those local jobs that over time this will create,” said Congresswoman Kathy Castor.

Just a few blocks away, Renaissance at West River is the first building to be built on the site of the old North Boulevard Homes, a section of town known for its high rate of crime and lower-income housing. People were relocated, the old buildings were torn down, and now two years later, the first building in this multi-million dollar community will open.

The mayor spoke earlier this week about how the expansion of the Riverwalk north on the Hillsborough River and projects like the Renaissance at West River will help connect different communities in Tampa.

“The revitalization is absolutely wonderful. We’re bringing West Tampa back to life historically and also with some new development. So very exciting,” said Mayor Jane Castor.

Redeveloping certain communities and expanding the Riverwalk is all part of the plan that the mayor and other city leaders hope will create a diverse city where people don’t have to travel far to work, live, and play.

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