Local park’s new name reflects its historic role

A park that has played a historic role in Land O’ Lakes now has a name to reflect that fact.

Officials gathered on March 1 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the renaming of the former Land O’ Lakes Community Center. The center and adjacent park is now known as Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park.

On March 1, elected officials and community leaders gathered at the park for the site’s renaming.

A new marquee has been unveiled near U.S. 41, which reflects the new name.

A new marquee sign with the masthead ‘Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park’ overlooks U.S. 41. (Kevin Weiss)

Festivities included a presentation of colors by American Legion Post 79 and a variety of speakers, who detailed the history and significance of the park.

“We’re thrilled about the renaming of this park,” said Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore, who served as master of ceremonies for the event.

“It’s important that we recognize the history of the area, and recognize the citizens that came forward and actually put a lot of effort into the park.”

The name change has been known for some time. The Pasco County Commission adopted the new name of the community center and park in November, at Moore’s request.

Moore consulted with members of the board of directors for the Heritage Foundation before making the suggestion. That was after the newly built Heritage Stage made its debut in August at the park.

The completion of the stage resulted from years of effort and partnerships between government, businesses and community volunteers.

For years, the Land O’ Lakes Community Center has been located at 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., while the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex, at 3032 Collier Parkway.

The similarity of names has been a source of confusion.

“It is not uncommon for folks to get mixed up with the two facilities,” said Brian Taylor, Pasco County’s parks and recreation manager.

Heritage Park Foundation president Sandy Graves acknowledged the community center and park probably should’ve been renamed “long ago.”

“We always thought that it needed a name change because it needed branding on its own, and now it has it,” she said.

Terri Dusek, of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce, is credited with initially coming up with the “Heritage Park” moniker.

She said the name change marks “the final touch” on the park’s recent upgrades.

Besides the new stage for community events, the park has undergone $2.3 million worth of improvements since 2015. Other additions have included new ball fields, a playground, a concession stand and restrooms, and a walking trail.

“Our community already has a very rich heritage, and I feel like now we’re adding to it. For me the only fitting name was Heritage Park,” Dusek said.

Published March 7, 2018

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