Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring has sprung anew at Oldsmar parks

OLDSMAR — Two city parks are getting a boost this spring with major improvements.

A new access road about 1,800 feet long, or a little more than a quarter of a mile, is in the final stages of construction at the Canal Park Sports Complex at 3120 Tampa Road.

And Veterans Memorial Park, the city's newest waterfront green space at 250 Shore Drive E, has undergone about a $600,000 upgrade.

The park's veterans memorial has been expanded and several new features have been added: two covered picnic shelters, a tiered, 30-foot hexagonal gazebo, restrooms, fitness equipment, canoe and kayak launch, and the city's only public bocce ball court.

The access road at Canal Park is costing $285,000, paid for out of the city's parkland and dedication fund.

The road is needed because between 60,000 and 70,000 people — clearly not all of them from Oldsmar, which has a population of about 14,000 — use the 46-acre complex each year, making it the city's busiest park.

Of particular concern are backups after Little League games and BMX events when drivers trying to exit onto Tampa Road "get stuck in the queue,'' said Lynn Rives, Oldsmar's leisure services director.

Started in January, the new road, which will allow drivers to make both right and left turns onto Curlew Road, will "make it easier'' to get in and out more quickly, he said.

But not everyone agrees.

"I'm not sure if this road is useful at all,'' said David Natelson, who's in charge of player selection for Oldsmar Little League but notes that he does not speak for the league.

He said from his perspective, maybe 25 percent of the baseball families would use the new road.

"That said, leaving from the Tampa Road exit is dangerous for young children who are at the BMX park," Natelson said. "They are typically riding bikes all over the football/soccer and baseball parking lots without supervision and as cars enter or leave from Tampa Road, I'm surprised there haven't been accidents, especially at night.

"It would have been better to move the BMX park or the Tampa Road entrance road so that the BMX and track had parking without a road between it and the parking lot.''

But Rives still believes "the traffic flow should improve leaving the park, overall.''

Paul Wedmore, a member of the Oldsmar Little League board of directors, agreed, saying the new road will help not only those entering and leaving "but for those of us who live on the Curlew side.''

Still, he has some reservations.

"It provides easy access to the baseball fields, soccer fields and BMX,'' Wedmore said. "My concern is the road being so close to the softball fields. The girls step out of the dugout and (are) right next to the road.

"Already, cars speed down the road. I would like for the city to put up a fence, not the metal ones the kids just swing on. Other than that, I feel it will be a nice addition.''

Rives said the city is planning to fence the dugout area of the adjacent field to control the flow out of the dugout in another direction from the road.

"We are also putting in traffic calming devices along the road to slow traffic,'' he said.

At Veterans Memorial Park, improvements also include a parking lot with 40 spaces and a winding walkway lined with Florida plants and flowers that will skirt the inside edge of the park.

Work was finished — except for the installation of flower beds — this month at a cost of a little more than $600,000, with $200,000 coming from a state matching grant. The remainder of the money came from the city's parkland dedication fund.

The park has turned out to be a popular venue for wedding ceremonies, where couples can tie the knot for just a few hundred dollars. It has been the site of about a half dozen nuptials so far.

"The setting is beautiful,'' Rives said. "Great sunsets.''

Eileen Schulte can be reached at or (727) 445-4153.

Spring has sprung anew at Oldsmar parks 05/07/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 7, 2009 9:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Baker cautious on Pride politics


    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  2. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  3. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  4. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 26-July 2.


    Vans Warped Tour: The festival returns Saturday to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, featuring shock-metal icons Gwar, hardcore punks Sick Of It All, ska band Save Ferris and indie-pop group Never Shout Never ($39.50-$49.50). vanswarpedtour. …

    Crowd for the Motionless in White band at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour at Vinoy Park, Friday, July 25, 2014.  CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times