After two terms on Tampa city council and a career in the private sector, Buckhorn was elected as Mayor in 2011 in the midst of the Great Recession. “It’s always darkest before the dawn”, he often remarked during his early Mayoral speeches. That proved to be prophetic. By the time Buckhorn left office, Downtown Tampa and its riverfront, once described as “stagnant and empty”, had been dramatically transformed into an area known for its vibrancy, high quality public spaces, and bursting with new development.

The Great Cities Symposium is Wednesday, October 12th, 2022, 5:00pm-8:00pm at the Garden Club of Jacksonville, 1005 Riverside Avenue. The event’s presenting sponsors are FIS, Foley & Lardner LLP, The Brinton Family, and Barbara & William Harrell. In addition to hearing from Mayor Buckhorn, guests will enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, drinks from Camp Craft Cocktails, Manifest Distilling and Champion Brands, and dessert. Seating is limited. Tickets on sale at

Upon taking office, Mayor Buckhorn reshaped how City Hall does business by streamlining the permitting and regulatory process, and introducing international markets to Tampa’s small businesses. Buckhorn then spearheaded the development of the InVision Plan, a blueprint for the development of Tampa’s urban core that focused on the underutilized waterfront. The plan emphasized connectivity and livability, new urban retail and residential opportunities, public transit expansion, as well as major investments in public spaces and access to the river.

The Hillsborough River became the city’s center point with the completion of the immensely popular and award winning 2.4 mile Tampa Riverwalk. The riverwalk extended to the former industrial section, now redeveloped with Armature Works and the growing Tampa Heights neighborhood. The riverwalk also connects to the Water Works Park, opened in 2014, which boasts an open lawn, children’s splash area and playground, amphitheater and dog park. The West River Redevelopment Plan, a part of the InVision Plan, was created to transform the area west of the river, and included the 25-acre Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park that opened in 2018. Water Street Tampa is the most ambitious project of them all; a public-private partnership with Jeff Vinik’s and Bill Gates’ Cascade Investments that is reshaping 40+ acres of the Channel District into $1.1 billion mixed use development.

Buckhorn is a graduate of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use and now serves as principal at Shumaker Advisors, where he is focused on economic development, urban development, and quality of life issues.

The Great Cities Symposium benefits Scenic Jacksonville, a nonprofit organization working to preserve, protect and enhance both the natural and built environment of Jacksonville, Florida. Previous Symposium speakers include Joe Riley, Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, and Ron Littlefield, Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee. By hosting notable city leaders from around the US to share their experiences, the organization hopes to inspire and engage the public, business community, and civic leadership. Learn more at

This event would not possible without key support from FIS, Foley & Lardner LLP, The Brinton Family, Barbara & William Harrell, Baptist Health, Breaking Ground Contracting, Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), Garden Club of Jacksonville, Mayo Clinic, MIller Electric, Northern Trust, Tom Bush BMW and Vystar Credit Union.

bdg architects, Belle Epoque Realty, Build Up Downtown, Camp Craft Cocktail, Carlton Construction, CBRE, Champion Brands, Corner Lot, Dennis + Ives, England-Thims & MIller, Finger & Nelson PLLC, 1st Downtown Jacksonville, First Horizon, Fisher Tousey, Florida Pump Service, HALFF, Heritage Capital Group, high reason, Highway Press, Lee & Cates Glass, M&M Homes, Manifest Distilling, The Ohmega Group, Prattify, SouthState Bank, Norm & Ann Anderson, Preston & Joan Haskell, Dori Walton also provided valuable support for the 2022 Great Cities Symposium.