Wednesday, February 21, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco gets bids to develop park near Aripeka

Pasco officials on Friday were set to open developers' bids to begin the first of two phases of a park in Aripeka.

The 20-acre SunWest park is expected to include a beach, volleyball courts, trail system, restrooms, pavilions, snack bar and parking for 254 vehicles when it opens this summer. Its centerpiece will be a lake and wake-board machine to pull riders through the water, like water-skiing.

Wake-boarding has become popular throughout Florida with facilities popping up in Orlando, Seffner, North Fort Myers and Deerfield Beech.

"We're pushing to get this done as quickly as possible," said County Commission Chairman Jack Mariano, adding that he hopes county commissions select a contractor by Jan. 28 to open the park by Memorial Day weekend, May 24.

The project's first phase is expected to cost about $3.5 million.

Orlando-based developer Patrick Panakos and other investors will install the wake-board equipment at their own expense and operate the park. County officials are negotiating with Panakos on terms of the agreement, Mariano said.

The park's second phase has not been budgeted. Officials are working out the plan's details, which are expected to include an amphitheater, observation tower, a children's water feature and 300 parking spaces.

Also unknown is whether SunWest will include a public boat ramp. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected a permit sought by the county to dredge a channel to give boaters access to the Gulf of Mexico, but the county is appealing that decision.

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