LACOOCHEE — Supporters of a proposed community center in northeast Pasco County's impoverished Lacoochee neighborhood are in line for a major county grant to help pay for construction of the building.
The $300,000 award is included on a list of projects to be funded with Pasco's yearly Community Development Block Grant money, which totals $2.3 million for next year. The award is the second-largest project on the list, behind the annual $1 million in debt payments for improvements in the Tommytown neighborhood in Dade City.
"We're thrilled with that," said Ronnie Deese, a Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative official who's coordinating the project. "That'll make a big difference."
County commissioners are set to approve the grants Tuesday at a board meeting in New Port Richey.
Planned for Stanley Park, the $1.2 million building's primary tenant would be the Lewis Abraham Boys and Girls Club, which would operate the center during most daytime hours. The group would move from smaller quarters on Patti Lane in the Cypress Manor public housing development.
The building would have an auditorium with bleachers that could serve as a community gathering spot and host town meetings. It would also provide a place for school plays and indoor basketball games for students at Lacoochee Elementary School, which does not have an auditorium.
"They're things that would help bring the community together," said activist Richard Riley of nearby Trilby.
Deese said local donors have chipped in about $350,000 toward the project, including one Lake Jovita resident who wrote a $100,000 check.
Most of the rest of the construction money could come from a federal Department of Agriculture grant.
Lee Logan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6236.