Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Zephyrhills seeks to lease land for park, public pool

City Manager Jim Drumm says he’s willing to resign.

City Manager Jim Drumm says he’s willing to resign.

ZEPHYRHILLS — Fearing Zephyrhills could lose out entirely on the school district-owned Hercules aquatic park site, the City Council voted to allow staff to enter into negotiations to lease a portion of the property for recreational development.

Meanwhile, City Manager Jim Drumm's tenure appears to be winding down after he agreed to resign in the wake of three council members' warning they would not vote to renew his employment contract.

The Hercules park property, Drumm told the board in a meeting Monday, was recently appraised at $505,000. But council members immediately expressed doubt the school district would sell for that.

In January, the council voted unanimously to negotiate with the Pasco County school district in hopes of buying the entire 15-acre site, on which the county used to operate a pool and park through a lease with the district. In recent years, due to budget cuts, Pasco County turned the property back over to the district.

The district recently approached the city about leasing about 12 acres to Zephyrhills for a park, with plans to sell the remaining portion at the southwest corner of County Road 54 and U.S. 301.

Council member Alan Knight, who was sworn in Tuesday after being elected April 8, said he estimates the school district will seek about $1 million for the property. Knight is former chairman of the city's parks and recreation board and said he has spoken extensively with district officials about the property.

"There's just no way they are going to accept $505,000. There's just no way they are going to do it," he said.

Knight said with a price tag of $1 million the city would be hard-pressed to find more funds to redevelop the park. Instead, Knight said he favors entering into a long-term lease with the district and using the proposed funds to build a functioning park and again operate the pool, for which the public has been clamoring.

The council voted unanimously to allow staff to pitch a plan to the district for it to sell 2 acres of the property and lease the remaining land to the city.

Drumm took over the city manager job in 2011. His contract expires in May, and council members Lance Smith, Ken Burgess and Charlie Proctor said last month they were not in favor of extending him a new contract after hearing complaints about his accessibility and low employee morale.

When Smith and Burgess announced their concerns, Drumm said he was unaware of the complaints and called the council members' comments on his job performance a "bombshell." He has since informed the council he is willing to resign and sought a meeting to present a severance package. (He also says he's willing to stay if an agreement can be reached.) The council decided to hold a special meeting, tentatively set for April 23, to allow Drumm to make his presentation.

In other news:

• In addition to Knight, Burgess was sworn in for another term after winning his seat unopposed. Knight and Burgess then drew straws to see who would end up with a shorter term. Knight drew the longer of two straws and won a three-year term, with Burgess to serve for another two years. The city is phasing in a voter-approved referendum that extends council terms from two years to three.

• The council unanimously selected the Winter Springs firm Team Pain Skate Parks to construct a new skate park. The city has budgeted $225,000 for the project, which would replace the current park at Krusen Field that has fallen into disrepair. Team Pain officials said they plan to hold workshops to seek input from local skateboarders and the public on what they want built.

• The council unanimously approved renewing a $50,000 grant to the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce to continue economic development efforts. The council also approved a $25,000 grant for the Pasco Economic Development Council to conduct marketing efforts on behalf of the city.

Zephyrhills seeks to lease land for park, public pool 04/15/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 8:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ruth: Trump is no Boy Scout in speech to scouts


    It could have been worse. At least the Boy Scouts of America didn't invite Dennis Rodman to address its 19th jamboree to discuss American foreign policy with North Korea and the art of nose piercings.

    President Donald Trump addressed the Boy Scouts’ national jamboree in Glen Jean, W. Va.
  2. PSTA, wary of future cuts, keeps property tax rate steady

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority stands to lose $2 million a year if voters approve an expansion to Florida's homestead property exemption on the 2018 ballot.

    One of The PInellas Suncoast Transit Authority's hybrid busses. The PSTA's governing board voted Wednesday to maintain the current property tax rate. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  3. Rays power way to 5-1 win over Orioles on eve of crucial road trip

    The Heater

    St. PETERSBURG — The Rays didn't get many hits in the early going Wednesday, but they got a couple that went a long way and that was enough to beat the Orioles, 5-1.

    Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) hugs catcher Jesus Sucre (45) after Souza's solo home run in the seventh inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Man accused of sexually assaulting 5-year-old girl


    ZEPHYRHILLS — Pasco sheriff's deputies have charged a Zephyrhills man with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in his care.

    Brett Campbell [Photo Courtesy of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]