By Sharon Still

About 35 residents of south Hillsborough County attended the recent public meeting to discuss the proposed Waterset Sports Complex land exchange. Hillsborough County staff members held the meeting to provide information, answer questions and receive public comment about a proposal to exchange the County’s current undeveloped 80-acre Waterset sports complex site for the proposed 85-acre site at the future southwest corner of Waterset Boulevard and Paseo Al Mar (Apollo Beach Boulevard extension).

Waterset, developed by Newland Communities, the developer of MiraBay and FishHawk Ranch, is located in Apollo Beach, west of I-75.

County staff was on-hand to hear public feedback on the land swap, according to Kyla Booher, manager of Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation Planning and Development.

The exchange benefits the county by locating a regional athletic complex on two collector roads, for easier access and a site configuration that provides more design flexibility.

Booher noted that feedback from residents varied, but the county has two weeks to collect all of the information and analyze it.

“The one thing people were most vocal about was that traffic would be a major concern,” she reported.

“But, in the county’s view, this is a win/win opportunity as it gives us more property and allows for roadway access and intersection improvements sooner than if it was tucked away in the community.”

There is no cost associated with the land exchange, yet there is $500,000 of funding for design and engineering costs.

The meeting consisted of discussion of the land exchange only, not the design of the sports complex itself, estimated at $5 million, which is unfunded at this time and could be anywhere from 5-15 years in the future, explained Booher.

After the two weeks has expired and everything has been considered, the proposal will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners.

Based on community input, available funding, and further analyses, the County will refine the park improvements and present them at a future public meeting. 

Booher can be reached at 307-1891 and public comments can be submitted through the county website.