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Pasco approves land deal that would bring park to Trinity

TRINITY — Trinity residents are a step closer to getting a long-awaited park in their neighborhood.

County commissioners unanimously approved an agreement Wednesday that would return 24 acres south of Trinity Boulevard to the developer that built much of Trinity. The details are still being worked out, but the idea is for Adam Smith Enterprises, who originally donated the land to the county for a park, to build the park itself.

"The goal of the Board of County Commissioners is to try to see if we can make this happen," County Administrator John Gallagher said. "If the board is okay with it we will proceed and come back with an agreement on those issues."

The agreement would require that the Trinity Master Association use the land only for recreation and drainage. The developer would have to give up any right to park impact fee credits it received for the site. Any impact fees paid in the Trinity development would be able to be used to buy land or build a district park in another location in the same impact fee zone.

The county would hold onto 4 or 5 acres for a future library.

Barbara Wilhite, attorney for the master association and the developer, sent a letter asking that the county agree to use that land only for a library or public safety purposes.

"The conveyance of the property to the Master Association will also take away the uncertainty that the county could surplus the property in the future and sell it for a different use," Wilhite said Thursday.

Though it's growing area populated with young families, Trinity has never had a county park.

Adam Smith Enterprises offered in September to take back the land it had donated to the county as part of a development agreement. The company, alongside the Trinity Master Association, offered to build improvements to the park and conduct routine maintenance.

There was one potential snag. The developer floated the possibility of a private park open only to Trinity residents. If that were the case, county officials could not justify the roughly $600,000 in fee waivers it gave the company for the initial land donation.

After considering the offer, county commissioners told Gallagher to hammer out a deal — as long as the park is open to the public.

Many details have not been finalized, including how much the park construction would cost or when it would open.

Developers envision a park with walking trails, tennis and basketball courts, a picnic shelter and a dog park. The site is adjacent to county fire station No. 15, near State Road 54. The park would be run by the homeowners' association.

The county had set aside $1 million in bond money to pay for improvements to the park, but the deal stalled since the recession because the county didn't have enough operating money to maintain a new county park.

In 2010, Adam Smith Enterprises offered $60,000 to help maintain the park for the first few years. But officials said that wouldn't cover the whole cost, and they couldn't justify spending money on a new park when they were cutting back on existing parks.

Pasco approves land deal that would bring park to Trinity 11/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, November 8, 2012 7:07pm]
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