By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County officials and area residents were pleased to attend a recent ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the official completion of the long awaited FishHawk Sports Complex expansion project.
In 2008, the FishHawk Sports Complex joined one of 38 sports facilities scattered throughout Hillsborough County and is now considered as one of the county’s largest and most congested community athletic parks.
As expected since its original completion, the complex has seen a steady growth of use. To accommodate the subsequent need for more athletic space, FishHawk area residents began planning to expand the complex in 2011, which then boasted of 12 total fields, concession stand, restrooms and parking.
Fast forward six years, a $2.1 million Hillsborough County project that involved a land swap deal between Hillsborough County and local developer, Newland Communities, added four multipurpose fields to the complex located at 16120 FishHawk Blvd., increasing the total fields to 16 – eight baseball and softball diamonds, eight fields for soccer, lacrosse, and football. The land swap cost Newland $150,000 due to necessary work to prepare the new tortoise habitat.
County officials also confirmed that organized teams have first dibs on the use of the fields for practice or playing games, but the rest of the time they are all open to residents.
Excited about the expansion, FishHawk Sports Complex Association president, Scott Powers, mentioned that with youth teams so prevalent in the area, many previously had to play at four or five separate locations, including the then-smaller Sports Complex.
“The Sports Complex is one of the community’s best features,” Powers said. “The promise of this park brought a lot of people to FishHawk. This really has become the hub of the community.”
The opening ceremony saw Powers along with other league officials and the project’s designers ceremoniously kick gold-colored soccer balls into a goal.
While Hillsborough County owns the fields, the FishHawk Sports Association will manage the complex and has priority over the fields’ use.
Along with the new fields, the project also includes 200 additional parking spaces and access drives, concession and storage buildings, lights, landscaping, sidewalks, fencing, and irrigation and storm-drainage systems, all paid with development impact fees.
For more information visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org