By Michelle Caceres

Once upon a time, Park Square at FishHawk Ranch was a thriving community epicenter, offering restaurants, a wine cellar, a gym, concerts in the park and fountains where the kids could play. It was the place you came to catch up with neighbors; the essence of FishHawk living.

Then it disappeared as most of the businesses shuttered their doors.

Fairy tales, however, have a happy ending and Park Square is no different. When the YMCA Express fitness center moved out, Anytime Fitness moved in to meet the fitness needs of residents. Park Square Pizza moved out of the large space facing the fountains (now occupied by coffee shop and live music hangout Cool Beans) but is back as Amici Pizza and Pasta and is whipping up pies and made-to-order Italian entrees in the space formerly occupied by Tampa Bay Speech, Language & Reading Clinic–who also moved upstairs next to Edward Jones.

Sidekicks Family Martial Arts Center has taken up residence in both Julestarz’ and Ambiance Salon’s old digs. Virtamed, a company that specializes in cutting edge virtual surgery technology, is building out the former Circle K (who remembers a convenience store in Park Square?) space.

Cherry’s Bar & Grill is a great place to watch a game or grab a quick bite. Sunshine State Family Care & Aesthetics Center, adjacent to Cherry’s, offers high-quality care and skincare services. Art Monkey has been a Park Square mainstay, offering an art studio and ice cream shop all under one roof.

At Cool Beans, a cozy and cool neighborhood coffee house that sells coffee, espresso drinks, bakery treats, snacks, gelato and smoothies, FishHawk resident Teri Smith chats with friends at a table on a hot day.

“This is a nice gathering spot,” she said. “There is so much seating here, inside and outside.”

Smith says she can’t wait to visit in the evening and unwind with a glass of wine. The shop also offers a selection of domestic and craft beer and sangria.

Whether it’s a burger or salad from Cherry’s, an ice cream from Art Monkey, a cup of Joe from Cool Beans, or an Italian dinner from Amici’s Pizza and Pasta, FishHawk residents will be enticed to visit Park Square once again with the myriad of choices.
Peggy Santivasci of Amici’s says the revitalization of FishHawk is reminiscent of the earlier days of Park Square, when you didn’t have to travel outside of the neighborhood for a good meal and entertainment.

“To see young families playing in Park Square brings back memories of my own family enjoying an evening here,” said Santivasci, whose children are now grown.
Park Square is alive again with something for everyone. Next time you’re looking for a bite to eat or something to do, look no further than the 35,000 sq. ft. town center.
“This is what FishHawk is all about,” said Santivasci. “It’s all about having fun where you live.”

Limited space is still available in the retail center. For information about leasing contact Hybridge associate Sheila Suhar at 498-1313.

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MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.