Hillsborough County planner John Patrick at Bethune Park on May 18. (Photo credit: Linda Chion.)

A new vision for Bethune Park has gained traction with ever-evolving plans for Wimauma development, which includes redevelopment of the downtown core area.

As envisioned, 4th Street would become the main street entrance to this vibrant downtown area, where now it is just one road among many that house an area of mobile and manufactured homes.

4th Street folds into the back end of the Bethune Park Boys & Girls Club, located at 5809 Edina St., where the Bethune Park Master Plan Community Open House and Workshop was held on May 18.

John Patrick, division director of the Hillsborough County Community and Infrastructure Planning Department, was in attendance, where he discussed the park’s connection to the Wimauma Community Plan, adopted in 2021. The plan “is for all of Wimauma,” Patrick said, “including the rural areas of Wimauma, downtown Wimauma and Bethune Park.”

He noted also that a temporary library is set to open in the fall of 2025, adjacent to the Boys & Girls Club, eventually to be replaced by a larger, permanent building.

Workshop attendees ranked photos printed on oversized posters related to park programming, offerings and architecture styles. Options included a splash pad, a commercial kitchen, outdoor restrooms, an amphitheater, outdoor movies, a farmer’s market, a learning center and teen games. Written comments included those concerning shaded seating areas, daycare facilities for children and adults, a community pool, club expansion and a sports complex and more sport fields.

Also in view at the open house was the April 2024 progress report for the Wimauma Downtown Revitalization Action Plan, which has three stages. Stage one involves the establishment of a temporary library, developed civic space for capacity building at Bethune Park and road safety improvements starting with the crosswalks across State Road 674.

Stage two involves a blueprint for inclusion and mitigating gentrification. Action items address mixed-use development that addresses affordable housing, public space for near-term marketplace incubators and the establishment of a business incubator to support entrepreneurs.

The third stage involves the allocation of resources for access to infrastructure. Action items include consideration of a bank of transfer of development rights, as well as expansion of the Urban Service Area to allow for higher-density development and septic-to-sewer improvements. Additional items include transforming State Road 674 into a complete street and installing sidewalks and street lighting on 4th Street.

Previous articleAutomotive Instructor Steven Conti Retires After 21 Years Of Teaching
Next articlePink Door Bakery Serves Authentic French Pastries And More