It has taken years to get to this point, but by the summer of 2021, a new recreation center at Wesley Chapel District Park is expected to be up and running.
A virtual groundbreaking was held, due to COVID-19.
A group of elected leaders and county officials gathered at the district park on July 15 and tossed out a few ceremonial shovels of dirt.
A video of the event was shared by the county’s Media Relations & Communications Team.
In the video, Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore talks about the long-term impact he expects the project to have.
“I spent years here with my children, in a number of sports. Now other children for years and years to come, and generations to come are going to be able to enjoy this indoor facility,” said Moore, who coached flag football, baseball and soccer at the district park, when his three children were younger.
Commissioner Ron Oakley thanked Moore for his involvement on the rec center project. Oakley added: “It’ll be great for this community.”
Keith Wiley, the county’s director of parks, recreation and natural resources, said the district park is the county’s largest athletic facility, in terms of space.
“So, this complex basically completes that package,” Wiley said.
The bid on the project was awarded to Keator Construction LLC, for slightly under $4 million.
Funding for the project primarily comes from park impact fees collected in the central zone of the county, Wiley said.
“We are fortunate enough with the growth that was occurring in the central area to be able to accumulate enough money to make this project come to life. So, we’re extremely excited about that,” Wiley said.
“We’re hoping that the building will be completed and open in the summer of 2021, and we’ll kick off our first program and welcome our first guest at that time,” he added.
The 17,800-square-foot facility will accommodate a number of sports and other activities, including basketball, volleyball, pickleball, summer day camp, toddler activities, community events and other uses, according to plans previously shared with The Laker/Lutz News.
The new facility will feature a gymnasium with a regulation-size basketball court that can be converted into two smaller courts, two volleyball courts or four pickleball courts.
There will be restrooms and showers, too.
Multipurpose areas will accommodate a range of activities for groups, such as the Rotary Club, community associations, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Tom FitzSimons, president of the Wesley Chapel Athletic Association, said, “An indoor facility will allow us to get the kids off of the (outdoor) courts and inside to play basketball in our program, and allow us to offer wrestling and volleyball, and possibly competitive cheerleading, where they’d be inside and they could do the practicing.”
“I can’t wait to see this thing built,” FitzSimons said.
The recreational center gives people another reason to take advantage of the popular district park.
It already is packed with outdoor sports activities, including several athletic fields for youth and adults, a lighted soccer field, basketball and tennis courts, and picnic tables and grills for barbecues.
It also is home to the county’s only universal playground — designed specifically for children with disabilities.
Published July 29, 2020