A groundbreaking ceremony is set for Aug. 16 for a stage to be built at the Land O’ Lakes Community Park, at 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
“It’s been a long wait, but we’re very excited,” said Sandy Graves, of the Heritage Park Foundation, who has played a leading role in helping to bring the vision to life.
“It was (state Rep.) Richard Corcoran, working with the governor, to get our cultural affairs money, to help us do the stage,” Graves said.
“I’m also grateful to the school board and Ray Gadd (Pasco County Schools deputy superintendent) for taking the lead for helping us get together community participation, with different builders and suppliers that helped us do it for the amount of money that we had,” Graves added.
There has been “a great, great response from the community,” said John Petrashek, director of construction services for Pasco County Schools.
“The architect, Peter Gottschalk, is doing this gratis. He’s a local Land O’ Lakes architect. Coastal Design is doing the civil design. They’re doing that pro bono.
“People have really stepped up,” Petrashek said.
Other companies have stepped up to provide free labor and materials at cost, Petrashek noted.
The roof on the stage has been upgraded to a copper-colored roof, he added.
“We wanted it to stand out,” Graves said. “Mary Lynn and Gary Gorsline of Copperstone (Executive Suites) donated $1,600 because we wanted a copper-color roof on it.”
The beginning of construction will signal a major milestone in the quest to give the community a place to gather, Graves said.
Over the years, 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.
The biggest boost for the project came last year when the governor approved a $250,000 grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
It took three governors to finally get the state’s support, Graves has noted in previous interviews. Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Charlie Crist both said no before Scott said yes.
The contract between Pasco County and the state Division of Cultural Affairs calls for the construction to be completed by June of 2017.
The completion can’t come too soon, Graves said, noting some of the people who have been pushing for the stage, sadly, have passed away and won’t be able to see it come to fruition.
Graves envisions plays, concerts and other events at the stage once it’s done.
“I know it’s going to be used well, in the community. We’re just making this park a very, very special park,” she said.
Groundbreaking for Land O’ Lakes community stage:
Aug. 16 at 8 a.m.
Land O’ Lakes Community Center, picnic pavilion, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
Published August 3, 2016