Citizens Organize to Save Mann Wagnon Park

Please join concerned citizens at Mann Wagnon Memorial Park, 110 East River Cove St., Tampa 33604, on March 3 at 10:30am for a Press Conference to discuss the preservation and future use of the historic fish camp and art studios at the park.

Sulphur SpringsMann Wagnon Memorial Park was originally donated in 1960 to the City-County Educational & Cultural Committee of Tampa for the purpose of educating young people about art and nature.  Three local, non-profit groups currently fulfill that mission, but proposed Hillsborough County changes may put their destiny is question.
“Our organizations have been part of Sulphur Springs for the last decade, and we want to be sure everyone knows the facts, and everyone’s wishes are heard before the County changes the character and purpose of our community, “ said Ed Ross, Founder of Community Stepping Stones and Past-President of the Sulphur Springs Civic Association.
Representatives from the following organizations are invited to speak about the importance of maintaining the programming and historic buildings at Mann Wagnon Memorial Park: Moses House, Sulphur Springs Museum & History Center, and Community Stepping Stones. Also speaking will be Tampa Preservation, Inc.
The County is holding a public meeting Thursday, March 6 at 6:30 pm at the Spring Hill Community Center, 1000 E. Eskimo Ave. to introduce their plans for the park and collect neighborhood comment, which includes replacing three older buildings with a new multipurpose facility.

Arts, Culture & History in Sulphur Springs

In December 2008, Hillsborough County moved its administrative offices for parks, recreation and conservation out of Mann-Wagnon Memorial Park in Sulphur Springs. The park could soon become a hub for arts and culture, as well as a catalyst for neighborhood renewal. Three nonprofit groups, Community Stepping Stones, Moses House, and the Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center plan to make the park their homes.

In 1962 Cecile Wagnon left nearly 2 acres and three cottages along the Hillsborough River to the City and County for a memorial park for her husband, W.M. Wagnon, and her brother, Merton Mann. The property currently houses six buildings and a shed and will be managed by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. Each of the three nonprofit groups will be responsible for providing a business plan that includes a budget and program goals as well as upkeep on their building.

In November 2009, Bank of America recognized Norma and Joseph Robinson with a 2009 “local hero” award and a $5,000 grant for the nonprofit endeavor of their choice.The money will help launch the Sulphur Springs Museum at what the Robinsons hope will be a permanent museum home at the park. “Our goal is to revitalize Sulphur Springs in such a way that the historical integrity and importance for the neighborhood is maintained,” said Norma Robinson as she accepted the award at a Tampa Theatre ceremony.”

Other nonprofit groups moving into the park are Community Stepping Stones, a youth art program; and Moses House, a museum displaying sculptures of the late folk artist Taft Richardson, who grew up in Spring Hill.