Zephyrhills residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on the future development and proposed amenities of Hercules Park.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their ideas and opinions to a public workshop meeting on June 10 at 6 p.m., at Zephyrhills City Hall, 5335 Eighth St., in Zephyrhills.
Other stakeholders in attendance are expected to include the city’s parks and recreation advisory board, CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) board and representatives from the project’s consultant, Kimley-Horn.
The City of Zephyrhills in recent months has pondered ways to spruce up the languished 12-acre park property at the corner of County Road 54 and Gall Boulevard, next to Zephyrhills High and Woodland Elementary schools.
One possibility for the park’s update includes installing a BMX (bicycle motocross) track where youth and adult bike enthusiasts traverse winding trails and thrilling jumps, in a safe and comfortable setting.
The latest conceptual sketch plan from Kimley-Horn shows a circuitous riding trail spanning roughly 5.29 acres of the park property, albeit with many details still to be hashed out.
Height levels on jumps and bumps haven’t yet been determined, but the track is expected to have variations for beginner, intermediate and advanced bikers — keeping safety in mind, too.
Surface material hasn’t been decided, either, though one option is a dirt track with wooden features for jumps and stunts.
Also proposed is a paved pathway encircling the BMX course for parents, walkers and runners to use for general exercise purposes.
Based on renderings, remaining Hercules Park property upgrades would then take on a mostly passive vibe — with a nearly 1-acre open playfield, 1.42-acre playground and picnic/shelter area, and a soft walking trail surrounding an existing retention pond and lighted fountain spray.
An open playfield —situated at the former Hercules Aquatic Center — would offer a grassy space for throwing footballs, Frisbees and so on.
A playground, meanwhile, could include some nature-based equipment beyond conventional slides and swings — think rock climb, bridges, tunnels, rope play structures and more.
The budget for the entire Hercules Park renovation will be determined from the workshop, where amenities could be added or removed based on community feedback, Zephyrhills CRA director Gail Hamilton wrote in an email to The Laker/Lutz News.
Final design and construction is expected sometime after park funding is identified for the city’s 2021-2022 fiscal year, Hamilton says.
Depending on the amenities and project cost, the development could be completed in a year, or built out over multiple years, she says.
City officials also have previously mentioned facilitating public-private partnerships for some of the park’s improvements.
In addition to its proximity to local schools, Hercules Park borders a busy Wawa gas station and Culver’s fast food restaurant, which could prompt those patrons to drop by the park to have a relaxing meal.
The park also is accessible to surrounding neighborhood developments through Henry Drive.
Should the BMX concept follow through, it would create an amenity otherwise not readily available to the East Pasco community. (Local BMX enthusiasts have previously tried accessing the Zephyrhills Skatepark at Krusen Field for those purposes.)
The closest public BMX pump tracks in the surrounding Tampa Bay area include Tampa BMX in Lutz and Oldsmar BMX.
City leaders for years have been calling for an action plan for vacant park land that once had a buzzing aquatic center and swimming pool.
Ownership of the land was transferred to the city from the Pasco County School Board in June 2018.
The park land is a legacy from about 80 acres once owned by the Hercules Powder Co.
The company, which converted pine stumps into resin and turpentine, had been the city’s largest employer at one point.
During a city council meeting last month, City Manager Billy Poe deemed the upcoming Hercules Park workshop “important” to provide additional information, plans and ideas to the public and other interested parties.
Published June 09, 2021