The City of Tampa will light up Old City Hall, located at 315 E. Kennedy Boulevard, Downtown Bridges, and the Tampa Riverwalk in blue today, April 2, 2023, at sunset, in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day. This year marks the 15th annual World Autism Awareness Day and the City of Tampa is proud to show its support by participating in the Light It Up Blue campaign.
The City of Tampa has a long-standing commitment to supporting people with autism and creating an inclusive community. Recently, the city constructed and opened the New Tampa All Abilities Playground, a state-of-the-art, 10,000+ square-foot playground that is designed for children with a wide range of physical, cognitive, sensory, and neuro-diverse abilities. The playground is fully inclusive and features multiple play pieces that are wheelchair accessible.
"As a city, we must strive to create public spaces that are truly inclusive, welcoming, and accessible for all members of our community," Mayor Jane Castor said. "By prioritizing the needs of everyone, we create a more vibrant and livable city that celebrates diversity and fosters a sense of belonging for all."
The New Tampa All Abilities Playground also includes a sensory area and interactive art installation geared towards children with autism or other disabilities. A communication board is also available for those who do not verbally communicate as well.
"As a sibling to a man with intellectual disabilities, I know how important parks like this are," said Councilman Luis Viera. "Parks like this are more than brick or pavement. They represent inclusion, understanding, and empathy with people like my mother and late father, who raise and care for persons with special needs. This park, the first of its kind here in Tampa fully funded by our City, is a gesture of solidarity to every family out there raising a child with special needs. It is about the City of Tampa taking 20 steps forward so that these families can leap forward 20,000 steps."
Mayor Jane Castor is encouraging everyone to participate in World Autism Month by sharing stories, inviting colleagues and friends to join the Kindness Campaign, making a donation, or taking the pledge to help create a world where all people with autism can reach their full potential.
To learn more about World Autism Month and how to get involved, please visit the Autism Speaks website.