Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Some cling to notion of Citrus Park community center, though Hillsborough has ditched idea

CITRUS PARK — The county has $1.9 million set aside for a Citrus Park community center it can't afford to operate.

Officials are asking residents to come up with new ideas for spending the money, but some insist that the community center idea not be abandoned.

The county made a promise six years ago, they say, and it should be kept.

"Community center is needed for children and seniors," Judy Armandez wrote on her comment form during a recent meeting on the matter.

"I believe the funding should be used to purchase land to build a community center in the future," Carolyn Glavan wrote.

The county originally allocated $2.8 million for the community center project. Over the years, however, environmental concerns put the center on hold and the county redirected some of that money to other projects, including a shelter at Carrollwood Elementary.

In 2009, officials identified a potential site for the center next to Citrus Park Elementary, but residents balked at the proposed partnership with the school district.

With $1.9 million left, the county says the project is no longer feasible and would cost too much in the long run.

"Hillsborough County cannot afford at this economic time to consider adding costs to our parks and recreation program that will increase operating cost because we just don't have the money to staff it, to pay the upkeep on it," county spokesman Steve Valdez said.

About 50 people attended a community meeting last week and shared their ideas on how to spend the money.

Some suggested more sidewalks and streetlights. Others called for infrastructure improvements like stormwater drainage and sanitation hookups.

Grant Walters, a longtime Citrus Park area resident, thinks the county should commission a comprehensive study of Citrus Park to identify all the infrastructure, drainage and flooding issues that have been neglected over the years.

"I don't feel like the county has done anything to stand up to the responsibilities that they have," he said.

Among those who want a community center, some say the project could be in tandem with expansion at the Citrus Park Little League.

Valdez said the county is depending on residents to reach a consensus on how to spend the money and hopes the community will eventually rally around a single plan. Eventually, the County Commission will make the final decision.

Commissioner Kevin Beckner said he is open to all ideas and hasn't ruled out a community center, but that the long-term costs of any proposal will be a factor.

He got involved this year when the county indicated that the money allocated for the Citrus Park community center would be transferred to a proposed regional athletic complex in the Keystone area.

Not only did residents of that rural community reject the county's plan, but many insisted that the money earmarked for Citrus Park should remain there.

Beckner and the rest of the commission agreed.

"It concerned me that dollars that have already been allocated to one community were being transferred to another community," he said. "We need to make sure that those dollars are used for the purposes of investing in Citrus Park."

Tia Mitchell can be reached at or (813) 226-3405.

Some cling to notion of Citrus Park community center, though Hillsborough has ditched idea 06/09/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.