The Heritage Park Foundation is figuring out its future.
The foundation, which formed decades ago, has essentially met its major goals of bringing improvements to the park — including a stage, which is now under construction.
So, the group met on Feb. 1 to discuss whether the foundation should continue to exist, or should disband.
Sandy Graves, a prime mover in the quest to get a stage for the park, told board members that if the foundation dissolves, it would be difficult to attain a nonprofit status (501c3) for another organization.
By having the nonprofit status, however, money can be raised that can be spent at the Land O’ Lakes park, she explained.
Kurt Conover, who has been involved since the inception of the foundation, agreed that establishing another 501c3 would be difficult.
Over the years, the vision for what should happen on the park land has changed, Conover said.
But, the idea has always been to foster a greater sense of community, Graves said.
The stage will help make that happen, Conover said.
“It will be a whole different atmosphere, once you have the stage,” he said.
The stage project was made possible through a partnership of the foundation, community businesses, Pasco County, Pasco County Schools and a $250,000 grant from the state.
Construction must be completed by this summer to comply with terms of the state grant, said Brian Taylor, the county’s Parks and Recreation manager.
The completion of the stage follows other significant upgrades to the park, which has resulted in making it a popular place among athletes.
In the future, the foundation may serve as a conduit to help raise money for additional improvements at the park, but it is not clear how that will work yet.
One idea would be for a fee to be imposed to those using the stage, with those fees going to the foundation. The foundation, in turn, could contribute that money for improvements at the park.
Taylor said he needed to do more research on the issue.
Discussion on the issue will continue at the board’s next meeting, expected to be held next month.
Published February 8, 2017