Carrollwood Village Community Park is finally a reality — and ready for the public to enjoy.
Situated on a 50-acre site that was once home to the now-offline Dale Mabry Wastewater Treatment Plant, the “passive” community park offers a number of amenities.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Oct. 19 to celebrate the partial completion of Phase I of the park.
Features include a dog park, a multi-use trail, exercise stations, picnic shelters, a pond, an open lawn, restrooms and parking.
A splash pad, playground and amphitheater are set to open by February, marking the completion of Phase I construction of the park.
Planning for the park, which is at 4680 West Village Drive in Tampa, began years ago.
Carrollwood residents weighed in during a series of community meetings dating back to 2014.
The original idea for a new park in Carrollwood became a community-driven, grassroots effort after word spread more than four years ago that the wastewater site was being retired.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan was among those who championed the idea of funding the park, and the Hillsborough County Commission approved the $6.5 million park project last May.
Hagan, a northwest area resident who grew up in Carrollwood, said the county “had a rare opportunity to do something special” with the large green space that was once home to the wastewater plant for more than 40 years.
He characterized the new park as “an oasis in Carrollwood Village.”
“This park will be a centerpiece for the entire community to enjoy,” Hagan said during the festivities. “It will be one-of-a kind, right in the heart of Carrollwood Village, and a great place to relax, exercise, have fun with your pet, and take a break from your fast-paced day.”
At the ceremony, Hagan also announced the county has allocated another $3.5 million for Phase II construction of the park.
Potential amenities may include the following, subject to community input and funding: An observation pier, shade canopies, solar trail lighting, a skate park/pump track, a community nature center, a pedestrian boardwalk, water fountains, a bridge/trellis, an event pavilion, a secondary playground and landscaping/garden area.
“There’s still plenty of room to grow,” Hagan said.
The Carrollwood Village Community Park adds to a list of more than 170 neighborhood parks in the county.
It is expected to become the county’s “most amenity-rich community park” once all phases are complete, said Rick Valdez, who is Hillsborough County’s parks and recreation director.
“We have skate parks that are skate parks, splash pads that are splash pads — this will have it all,” Valdez explained.
“There’s a lot of things that make this place special,” he added. “It’s very rare that we get $10 million to build a park, so we are paying attention to the smallest details, and just also going and getting input from the community, and just giving the community what they want.”
Local residents are excited about the park’s possibilities.
Dawn Hudson is president of the Carrollwood Park Conservancy — the group responsible for initially spearheading the park project.
“Parks make life better,” Hudson said. “I think it will draw people from 10 to 15 miles — someplace for people to go.”
She said the opportunity to build another park in Carrollwood would not have been possible without the retirement of the wastewater site and the simultaneous collaboration of local residents.
“We carried our vision through, and here we are. It’s pretty amazing,” she said.
Hudson said she’s most looking forward to helping plant a botanical garden that will make the park “really interesting to walk through.”
The addition of a “nature play” playground is another feature that will stand out, she said. “It’s not going to be your plain jane swings and slides,” Hudson said. “It’s going to be a place where you use your imagination to play, like running up a hill, hiding behind a big rock, crawling through a tunnel.”
Park hours will normally be from sunrise to sunset, with staff on-site to facilitate programming and provide maintenance.
Another unique aspect of the park: It is home to a 1,200-square-foot, 24-hour indoor fitness facility used exclusively by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies. In essence, that creates built-in security — with officers working out around the clock on park grounds.
The workout facility is in a former administration building structure at the wastewater plant. Everything else associated with the former treatment plant has been demolished, with the exception of two reclaimed water tanks, pump stations and fencing.
A grand opening for the park will take place sometime in early 2019 after Phase I construction is complete.
For more information on the park, visit CarrollwoodVillagePark.com.
Published October 24, 2018