By Tamas Mondovics
Residents were invited last month to learn about the County’s proposal to increase parking availability at Veterans Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum.
The open-house format meeting hosted by Hillsborough County Real Estate and Facilities Services, was held at the museum, 3602 U.S. Hwy. 301 N. in Tampa, with project displays available for viewing, giving residents a chance to review plans, ask questions, and comment on a proposal to buy a 1.85-acre parcel at 3801 Danny Bryan Blvd.
According to officials, the purchase of the parcel is the first step in the $450,000 project to create parking for an additional 70 to 90 vehicles along with the addition of a secondary access point for use during special events.
The project is included within the existing Veterans Memorial Park Capital Improvement Project and is planned to be funded by two sources. A State of Florida Department of Economic Development grant awarded to the County in the 2017-2018 legislative session, $250,000 of which is for land purchase, part of a $388,000 grant that includes Veterans Resource Center enhancements.
Money for the project also comes from the County Parks Impact Fee Program funding; the $200,000 for site improvements, that is part of $560,000 in additional funds recommended for 2018 CIP.
If approved, the property will be purchased by October 2017 followed by design from October 2017 to April 2018.
The estimated seven-month-long construction is scheduled for April 2018 to October 2018.
The museum and park are popular destinations, featuring several memorials and monuments, and hosting a number of special events and ceremonies throughout the year.
Officials emphasized that the 8,000-sq. ft. Veterans Resource Center currently also under construction on the grounds will become the new home for the County’s Consumer and Veterans Services.
As funds become available future plans also call for a 14,000 to 16,000 sq. ft. addition for educational use and museum exhibits.
“The new services center is the result of a unified effort by our local Veterans, Veteran advocates, Hillsborough County government and the state of Florida,” said Assistant Hillsborough County Administartor, Dexter Barge.
It will include a multi-purpose room for uses such as training and special events.
No interruptions to park activities are anticipated during planned construction.
For more information, please visit the County’s Veterans Memorial Park Expansion – Additional Parking project webpage at HCFLGov.net.