Monday, May 28, 2018
News Roundup

Zephyrhills ponders what to do with Hercules Park land

ZEPHYRHILLS — It's been closed for more than a year, but discussions remain active about what to do with the former Hercules Park and aquatic center.

City Manager Jim Drumm told City Council members Monday that school district officials want to know if the city has any interest in leasing the land, located on roughly 15 acres on the southeast corner of U.S. 301 and County Road 54. The county was leasing the land, but closed the pool in 2011 amid budget cuts and returned the land deed to the school district in early 2012.

Should the city opt not to lease, Drumm said there has been talk of the district possibly putting a maintenance facility on the property or selling a 2-acre chunk to be developed as a gas station. The latter idea rankled some council members.

"That is a beautiful piece of property," said council member Kent Compton. "It's just too drop-dead gorgeous to turn into a gas station."

Others agreed, but acknowledged the district needs the money and has an obligation to get the highest value from the land.

If the city were to lease the property, Drumm said one possible use might be turning it into a skate park.

Reopening the pool could cost the city more than it can afford, unless citizens agreed to higher taxes or a special assessment, he said.

Council member Charles Proctor suggested residents contact council members with ideas or suggestions about the property. The council agreed to revisit the subject at a later time.

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