The Pasco County School Board approved a contract that gives the school district the lead on constructing a stage at the Land O’ Lakes Community Park.
The contract between Pasco County and the state Division of Cultural Affairs calls for the construction to be completed by June of 2017.
The school board’s vote on Dec. 15 approved an agreement between the board and the county for the school district to assume the responsibility for getting the design work, permitting and construction done.
“The school district is able to make the process a bit faster,” said Sandy Graves, of the Heritage Park Foundation, who played a pivotal role in securing the funding for the stage.
“I am elated that the school board is taking on the project,” Graves said, via email.
The money for the project came from a $250,000 appropriation by the Florida Legislature, following years of lobbying efforts.
The quest for a stage at the park has been nearly 20 years in the making, Graves said, during a previous interview. It took three governors to finally get the state’s support.
Construction of the stage follows the completion of a $2.3 overhaul of Land O’ Lakes Community Park. That improvement included the installation of a Bermuda grass practice field, a Bermuda grass football field and a 300-foot Bermuda grass softball field.
The upgraded park also has a new concession building with restrooms and a meeting room, a maintenance building, open space, two shelters, new parking lots, a new playground and a remodeled patio area. There’s also a four-tenths-of-a-mile walking trail.
Over the years, the Heritage Park Foundation has had all sorts of fundraisers and events to draw attention to its cause.
Foundation members sold turkey legs at the community’s Flapjack Festivals, sold coffee at the opening of the Suncoast Parkway, sold water at a balloon festival at Starkey Park, and sold doughnuts and coffee at the Central Pasco Chamber’s community expos.
They also had events, such as Traditions on the Green and Scarecrows ‘N Stuff, to keep the issue in the public eye.
Both the county and the school district will benefit from the project, by using it for various public and school cultural activities, including music, dance, theater, creative writing, visual arts and other art forms, according to the agreement the school board approved.
Graves envisions the stage as becoming a popular place for people to gather, to have good old-fashioned fun.
Published December 30, 2015