Construction began last month on the much anticipated new skate park and pump track on Osprey Ridge Rd. in FishHawk Ranch.

FishHawk area residents will have a new place to play by the end of the year. Construction is underway on the much anticipated new skate park plaza adjacent to Colleen Bevis Elementary School in Lithia and county representatives believe the park will be open to the public by October or November.

According to Hillsborough County’s Todd Pratt, the area, known as the South East County Skate Park, will be a combined configuration with a hybrid pump track in addition to a traditional skate park; the first of its kind in unincorporated Hillsborough County.

The new park will be approximately 13,000 sq. ft. and has a design budget of $72,000 with $505,000 expected for construction.

“We are removing the old skate park concrete pad and adding the new hybrid park along with a new 11-space parking lot,” said Pratt.

The first phase of construction will include a stormwater pond and the parking lot. The pump track and skate park layout is expected to start in early August and the construction time frame is approximately eight weeks, not accounting for weather delays.

According to Pratt, pump tracks were originally intended for mountain bike and BMX use but have grown in design and materials to now accommodate use by skateboards, scooters and wheelchairs. The first official pump track to open in America was The Fix Bike Shop in Colorado in 2004.

“A pump track is designed so that a rider can go around the entire track without ever having to pedal,” said Pratt. “A rider uses their momentum and weight to pump the bumps and angled turns to maintain and gain speed throughout the track.”

The new park will be open to all Hillsborough County residents free of charge.

“Picking up how to pump a track takes relatively little time, which means that almost anyone can use the track,” said Pratt. “Not only are pump tracks easy to use and fun, they also help riders improve cornering, maintaining momentum and speed as well as providing a full body workout.”

To learn more about the park, which is located at 5720 Osprey Ridge Dr. in Lithia, call 635-5400 or visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.