Zephyrhills is gearing up for big changes in 2020

As a new decade approaches, the City of Zephyrhills plans to open a much-anticipated tennis facility, plans to extend its airport runway, will be engaged in infrastructure improvements and could possibly end a 60-year tradition of operating its own fire department.

Here’s a closer look for what’s on the horizon for 2020 and beyond:

Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center
The $4.9 million Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center is expected to be open in late summer, about a year after its July 2019 groundbreaking.

The much-ballyhooed facility, at 6585 Simons Road in Zephyrhills, will feature:

  • Eleven outdoor tennis courts (eight clay, two hard surface, one exhibition), eight pickleball courts and four padel courts
  • An adjoining 7,400-square-foot indoor wellness center, with a fitness and rehabilitation studio, salt/sauna room, cryotherapy, pro shop, café, kid’s area and more.

Zephyrhills City Manager Billy Poe recently told The Laker/Lutz News that the city also has requested an additional $1.5 million in state appropriations for a second phase of the project, which would encompass a 30,000-square-foot multipurpose indoor facility for tennis, soccer, athletic training, banquets, receptions and so on.

Zephyrhills Fire Department consolidation?
The Zephyrhills Fire Department could be absorbed by Pasco County Fire Rescue sometime in 2020, after nearly 60 years of operation and tradition.

The county is drafting up a tentative agreement that will be presented and reviewed by Zephyrhills officials sometime in early 2020, Poe said.

The move is due in part to funding and staffing issues that have plagued the city’s fire department, the city manager said.

Should the merger occur, Pasco County Fire Rescue would operate the city’s two fire stations and would absorb the city’s fire department personnel at their proper pay step.

The county also would ensure and maintain additional staffing needs at both stations and place an ambulance within the city limits.

Zephyrhills Municipal Airport’s runway 1-19 is getting a $5.9 million extension. (File)

Airport runway extension
Work is progressing to extend Zephyrhills Municipal Airport’s runway 1-19, a measure to accommodate larger passenger and corporate jets, and spur aviation and industrial development.

The city received $5.9 million in state appropriations to extend the runway by 1,200 linear feet — which will bring it to about 6,200 feet.

Engineers and officials are analyzing the design of the project, keeping in mind any potential  impacts it could have on Skydive City’s landing zone, Poe said.

The airport also is set to receive an upgraded fuel farm, as well as airfield beacons and lighting improvements, he said.

Relocation of U.S. 301/Pretty Pond Road traffic signal
Development plans at and near the corners of U.S. 301 and Pretty Pond Road have prompted the relocation of the traffic signal that currently is located at Merchants Square and Townview shopping centers, to a new location at Pretty Pond Road.

The city is working with the Florida Department of Transportation on the design, and has requested $2.3 million in state funds  for the project. If funding comes through, construction likely would begin in August or September. Completion is targeted for early 2021, the city manager said. Relocating the signal would improve traffic flow, he said.

Meanwhile, the city has budgeted $600,000 for road resurfacings in 2020, the most significant being 12th Street in front of Zephyrhills High School.

New developments on tap
Zephyrhills expects to see a surge in population growth over the new decade, as residents move in to make their homes in residential projects that are now at the permitting stage, are already coming out of the ground, or have received entitlements for future development.

Larger single-family developments include The District at Abbott’s Square, Zephyr Lakes, Hidden River, as well as expansions to the Silver Oaks and Silverado communities. Meanwhile, Wire Ranch Apartments and Pretty Pond/Wire Road Apartments are some of the larger multifamily units in the works.

Commercial development is expected to follow.

Chipotle and a Chick-Fil-A are expected to open in Zephyrhills, and there are rumors the city could become home to some other chain restaurants and businesses.

Published January 01, 2020

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