Volunteers seek to turn park into community gathering spot
By B.C. Manion
Sandy Graves and Lee Cannon recall simpler times in Land O’ Lakes, when people gathered for old-fashioned fun at carnivals and dances.
As members of the Heritage Park Foundation, they hope to revive that sense of community by pitching in to organize more wholesome events that families can enjoy on the parkland next to the Land O’ Lakes Community Center, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
The board envisions a time when people will be able to gather for school concerts, performances and other events on an outdoor stage at the park.
They also imagine park visitors strolling down Heritage Park, a path lined with historical markers that help tell the story of the community’s history and families.
The county’s parks department is expected later this month to unveil a proposed plan for the stage and walking path.
Foundation members staged a car show last month to help raise money for an outdoor stage and Heritage Walk. They also want to raise money so they can offer more free or low-cost community events.
But one of the issues they encounter when they want to stage an event is the cost of insurance, said Graves, president of the foundation’s board. It is quite possible to have a fundraising event that raises barely enough to cover the cost of insurance, she said.
Cannon said he thinks people would be willing to make cash donations if they were aware that their contributions to the 501c3 organization are tax deductible.
The foundation is looking for volunteers willing to help with events, and for those who have ideas for future gatherings.
“Let’s all work together,” Graves said, noting that the community banded together to build the community center — it was not provided by the county.
“Everybody gave of their time and talents,” Graves said.
That’s what foundation members hope will happen again, so they can revive the park and make it a gathering spot for the community.
If you would like to help the Heritage Park Foundation by volunteering or contributing funds, call Sandy Graves at (813) 996-3011.
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