Lake Park, a popular park in Lutz, has been closed until further notice because of a sinkhole.
At this time, the sinkhole is 6 feet across and approximately 90 feet deep, according to Michelle Van Dyke, a spokeswoman for Hillsborough County.
The county has closed the park, at 17302 N. Dale Mabry Highway, in an abundance of caution to protect public safety, Van Dyke said.
The county hired a geotechnical firm to conduct soil borings after floodwaters receded about four weeks ago, revealing a depression on one of the main roads in the park, according to Van Dyke.
The county notified the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club about a possible sinkhole, which forced cancellation of the club’s annual arts and crafts festival at the park.
The two-day festival, held in early December, typically features around 300 vendors and attracts about 30,000 people. It’s the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and its cancellation will have a ripple effect on the various local organizations it supports.
Lake Park is a 589-acre sanctuary for birds and wildlife. It features five lakes, cypress swamps, pine flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks.
It also has an archery range, a BMX bicycle track, two equestrian arenas and a radio-controlled car track.
The county closed the park after receiving an engineering report on Dec. 1 confirming the presence of a sinkhole.
The immediate area affected looks like a dip in the road, but tests indicate a sinkhole beneath the surface. The exact footprint is not known, Van Dyke said.
Additional fencing has been installed on the park road leading to the affected area, she added.
County staff will be talking with the engineering firm and the City of St. Petersburg, which owns the land, to determine what the next steps will be. The county leases the property from the City of St. Petersburg.
County staff is contacting event organizers and groups that use the park, to notify them the park is closed until further notice.
Any park usage application fees for cancelled events will be refunded.
Published December 9, 2015