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County, Community Turn Wastewater Plant Site Into Gathering Place

CARROLLWOOD, FL — After 4 1/2 years in the making, county officials and residents of Carrollwood Village celebrated the opening of a new signature park on the site of a former wastewater treatment plant.

Last week’s opening celebration marked the first phase of improvements to the 40-acre site at 4680 W. Village Drive.

Carrollwood Village residents are helping design the county park and select its initial amenities as well as future additions.

Currently, the park features a large pond, picnic shelters and benches, dog parks for small and large dogs, exercise stations, walking/jogging paths and restrooms. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office also has a training facility on part of the property.

Hillsborough County paid $6.5 million to develop the parcel, and is allocating more money for future development. At the Celebrate the Progress gathering, County Commissioner Ken Hagan unveiled a rendering of what the park ultimately might look like.

“It’s been a citizen-driven process,” said Hagan. “We listened to what the community wanted. This is the first of several phases that will occur here. We have a one-of-a-kind park here in Carrollwood Village that I believe is going to be a model for future parks in Hillsborough County.”

“One of the best comments I heard is one lady said she can’t wait for her grandchildren to play in this park,” said Rick Valdez, parks and recreation director. “And she doesn’t even have grand kids yet. It just shows how much parks mean to people.”

Among the additional amenities are a playground and splash pad, an amphitheater, an observation pier, a skate park, a pedestrian boardwalk, solar lighting and a nature center.

The idea of turning the site into a park began as a dream, said Dawn Hudson, president of the Carrollwood Park Conservancy.

“The people of this area got together and said, ‘When you close the wastewater plant, would you please build a park?’ And the county said ‘Yes.'” Hudson said.

Members of the nonprofit conservancy are committed to using and keeping an eye on the park, and lobbying for more amenities.

Photo: Development of Carrollwood Village Park at 4680 W. Village Drive will continue in phases with input from area residents.

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