With funding secured for a new community park in Carrollwood Village, the next step is finalizing the project’s conceptual design.
The 50-acre Carrollwood Village Community Park is set to replace the Dale Mabry Wastewater Treatment Plant once it goes offline, and the land is converted to a green space.
The property is situated west of North Dale Mabry Highway, south of West Village Drive in the Greater Carrollwood Area.
The current total park project budget is $6.5 million, including $400,000 in impact fees and $6.1 million in financing. The land transfer from the Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department is currently estimated at $1 million to $1.5 million.
The county is retiring the 40-year-old plant because of increasing operation and maintenance costs; the plant’s workload will be transferred to the Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility off South Mobley Road.
The decommissioning of the plant is expected to be complete sometime next spring.
In the meantime, the park will be phased in over several years, beginning with the Design Build Procurement Phase, now underway.
That involves the construction of a new pump station, a reclaimed water outfall, odor-control equipment and an electrical building.
As Phase I ramps up, the Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department is still gathering input on the project, which included an April 18 open house at the Carrollwood Cultural Center.
Dozens of residents attended, providing comments, filing out notecards, and asking questions on proposed use and amenity options.
The meeting served as a follow-up to a gathering in September 2015, where parks officials collected input from the community on the type of amenities they’d value the most at the 50-acre site.
Department officials ranked the citizens’ comments, and created a top 10 “wish list” of amenities.
A “passive” community park, featuring walking trails, a dog park, a splash pad, a picnic area, a botanical garden and a nature center were some of the most requested amenities.
Based on the community’s comments, the conceptual plan was further developed to incorporate desired changes, including a playground, volleyball court, open-lot amphitheater, skate park and event pavilion.
This current plan is a “living document” that may be changed based on site conditions, construction restrictions and budget allowance, park officials say.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, the featured speaker at the April 18 open house, said the park has potential to become “a real jewel” in Carrollwood.
“It is going to be a wonderful community asset,” Hagan said. “With the location and size of this property, we have a rare opportunity to really create something special right in the heart of Carrollwood Village.”
A major question remaining is which park elements the community wants first, said Doc Dougherty, the county’s parks and recreation director.
“There’s so much that goes into infrastructure at a place this big,” Dougherty explained. “Our goal would be to have as many (park) elements as we can in the first phase, so people can see something useful here.”
Another issue still under consideration is the park’s operational component.
“That is a challenge throughout all of our facilities,” Hagan said, “Whether it’s parks, libraries or fire stations, it’s not the capital cost up front, but it’s the recurring, yearly operational costs that provide challenges.”
Hagan noted the county is considering various public-private partnership opportunities to reduce those costs.
The county’s parks department already oversees 176 neighborhood parks, 54 recreation centers, and 118 playgrounds, along with has 38 sports complexes, four skate parks and six dog parks.
The idea for the new park in Carrollwood was community-driven.
Once news spread about the retirement of the wastewater site a few years ago, the Friends of the Northwest Regional Park — the group responsible for spearheading the idea for a new park — collected several thousand individual signatures and received support from over 10,000 Carrollwood homeowners for a new community park.
“I’ve never seen a project that has had this level of community support,” said Hagan “A lot of credit must go to leadership here in Carrollwood Village.”
Officials say additional meetings are anticipated as the project develops.
Public comments on the Carrollwood Village Community Park will be accepted through May 2.
To provide feedback on the project, visit tinyurl.com/lgn4xxv.
Published April 26, 2017