J.C. Newman: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Cigar Workers Park January 23rd, 2024
On Tuesday, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor, and the Newman family cut the ribbon to open Cigar Workers Park. This new park is located across the street from J.C. Newman’s historic El Reloj factory in Tampa’s Ybor City National Historic Cigar District. In the presence of El Reloj’s cigar workers, the Newman family dedicated the park to the hundreds of thousands of people who have worked in Tampa’s cigar factories since 1886.
Cigars are a handcrafted, labor-intensive product and are very difficult to roll well. It is because of the hard work, dedication, and craftsmanship of Tampa’s cigar workers that Tampa’s cigar industry became so successful. Yet, Tampa’s cigar workers have toiled in anonymity. The Newman family built this new park to honor and thank the generations of cigar workers who made Tampa famous.
The design of Cigar Workers Park honors Tampa’s cigar tradition. The fountain in the center was formed with wood from a pre-Civil War tobacco barn in Quincy, Florida. That wood also adorns the park’s pavilion. The park features tradition Ybor City hexagonal pavers as well as authentic reclaimed Tampa bricks from the 1880s. The park is also home to J.C. Newman’s bat houses, which are home to the bat colony relocated from the Sanchez y Haya building across the street.