By Tamas Mondovics

It took nearly 10 years for Hillsborough County to make good on its promise to turn vacant county-owned land in Seffner into a public park.

Local officials, community leaders and area residents gathered together earlier this month to celebrate a ribbon cutting and the grand opening of the appropriately named Seffner CommUNITY Park and Gardens.

Hillsborough County representatives including Commissioner Victor Crist, Assitant County Administrator Daxter Barge and interim County Parks Director Rick Valdez all emphasized that while the completion of the project came a bit later than expected, it was well worth the wait.

From its design to its name, the new park located at 406 N. Kingsway Road in Seffner is dedicated to building a sense of community, County officials said.

And for a good reason.

Thanks to all the input from residents, the Seffner community assisted in turning the 25-acre parcel empty field into a multi-faceted park with a fenced community garden, three separate walking trails, a gazebo and two shelters with picnic tables.

The $400,000 project also included lighting, drainage and landscaping work.

In January 2009, six acres of the parcel was used to build the brand new Seffner-Mango Branch Library, which also opened to the public with a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by members of the BOCC.

The Seffner-Mango Park is only a small part of the County’s focus on providing residents with well-cared for and maintained parks to enjoy the outdoors.

Included on the list of such facilities is the recently completed Paul Sanders Park, at 602 W. Bloomingdale Ave., which began on February 1. The park reopened on time in mid-March.

The new playground now features an improved playground surfacing system.
Other park projects on the County’s to-do list include the Brandon Area Dog Park; Bloomingdale East and West Park Renovation/Improvements; Countywide Soccer Complex; and the Riverview Mosaic Park, just to name a few.

For more, please visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.