Steve Anderson is a history enthusiast and has enjoyed visiting history and natural museums in countries around the world. While supporting and admiring the efforts of the Tampa Bay History Center and other historical societies, he has always felt that Tampa has done too little over the decades to honor and preserve its rich history. As a result, in 2002, he began advocating a project for the systematic erection of historical statues and monuments in Tampa to do just that.
It became apparent that the ideal location for his project was the Tampa Riverwalk, at that time an unbuilt dream. Anderson joined the Friends of the Riverwalk, incorporated the group as a non-profit corporation and successfully filed papers to have the entity designated as a tax exempt charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service. He served as its Vice President for 6 years, and as its president for 3 years.
The Friends of the Riverwalk have raised millions toward completion of the walkway and have assisted two mayors in bringing focus to the desirability of building a great riverwalk through downtown Tampa. Mayor Bob Buckhorn has made the river a primary focus and has successfully lobbied for federal assistance in building the final leg of the walk.
With the Riverwalk nearing completion, and with the blessing and support of the Mayor and Friends of the Riverwalk, Anderson created the Historical Monument Trail project. He selected 9 respected local historians to select the people and events to be honored with monuments and statues. Anderson’s firm contributed the first $100,000 for creation of historical monuments and the committee of historians selected its first 6 honorees in the Spring of 2012. The finished monuments for those honorees were constructed and unveiled in late Fall of 2012. A second group of 6 were dedicated in 2013 and a third group in December 2014. While personally steering the annual effort to name, fund and erect a new group of 6 honorees, Anderson has also initiated a similar effort to erect large pieces of historical artwork to commemorate the 3 most significant events of Tampa’s history. When completed, these 3 tributes to local history will be located in the parks adjoining the Tampa Riverwalk.
It is anticipated that more than 40 monuments and statues will ultimately line the Riverwalk, providing education, information and a sense of pride for the community. A great deal more private funding will ultimately be required.
Please visit the websites and Facebook pages of the Riverwalk and the Historical Monument Trail at the following addresses: