By Tamas Mondovics
Pointing to unexpected scheduling issues and a fair amount of public input ahead of an open house format public meeting, Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation officials have changed direction on a proposed improvement project of two Bloomingdale area parks.
Prior to its cancellation, the meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, July 11 and was seeking public input on improvements to Bloomingdale East Park, 3902 Natures Way Blvd. in Valrico, and Bloomingdale West Park, 3940 Canoga Park Dr. in Brandon.
“We have received a lot of input from the community prior to the meeting indicating that residents were glad about improvements to the parks, but were not excited about some of the proposed changes,” said County spokesperson Kyla Booher.
The project called for renovating the two parks, which are about half a mile apart on either side of Bloomingdale Avenue.
At Bloomingdale West, the proposed project was going to expand the tennis courts into a $600,000 tennis center and include racquetball courts, restrooms, shelters and parking.
At Bloomingdale East, the project would have removed the tennis and racquetball courts because of the new tennis center nearby and added a $400,000 splash pad, also known as a spray pool area with sprinklers, fountains, nozzles, and other devices or structures that spray water with little or no standing water.
The projects’ estimated total cost is $1 million for the splash pad and tennis center and would have been paid for through park impact fees for new construction.
Booher said that East Bloomingdale residents did not want to lose the tennis courts prompting the County to reconsider the proposed plan for both parks.
Based on public comments and the engineering analyses and surveys, Booher emphasized that Parks and Recreation will refine the project or decide the project should not move forward.
“We have decided to change direction and for now looking at a smaller renovation such as repair and resurfacing of the existing amenities at each park,” she said.
Some of the amenities at the 19-acre Bloomingdale West Park include a basketball court, picnic shelters, open field, playground, racquetball and tennis courts, sand volleyball and walking trails. The East Park has similar amenities.
Some residents have expressed concern about the lack of restroom facilities at Bloomingdale West and hope that county officials will consider adding it to the proposed improvement plan.
For information, contact Kyla Booher at 307-1891 or visit www.hcflgov.net.