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KEYSTONE // Keystone Park is gearing up for a $400,000 facelift

A county park that has seen more than 35 years of children's games, civic meetings and senior citizens' gatherings is about to receive a $400,000 makeover.

Proposed improvements to Keystone Park include a new multipurpose court, picnic shelter, resurfaced tennis courts and a spruced-up community-center building. Hillsborough County officials are negotiating for a consultant on the project, but it could be about a year before construction starts.

"It takes a while," Joel Jackson, project director for the county's park bond program, said. "You're looking at 10 to 12 months, easy."

Keystone Park's facelift is expected to take about two years. It will be financed through a $20-million bond issue that voters approved in 1992 to create and improve parks around the county. The list includes about 68 sites, Jackson said.

Major improvements involve Keystone Park's 2,028-square-foot community center, which was built in 1959 by residents. The building could receive a patio, an additional arts and crafts room, a youth game room and/or multipurpose classroom, central air-conditioning and new plumbing and electrical work.

Peggy Miller, a member of the Keystone Civic Association, said the organization surveyed residents for ideas about the park's most urgent needs. In particular, they targeted groups that meet at the aging center, such as the Fern Club, the Homemakers Club and the Boy and Girl Scouts.

"We spoke with everyone we could find," Miller said. "Everybody meets there. The place is really busy."

Vicki Johndrow, a member of the Keystone Civic Association, said she is pleased that some of the improvements are of interest to young people.

"I was really pushing for some renovations toward the youth," Johndrow said. "It looks like we're going to achieve some of those goals.

"I'd love to see the kids be able to have a place to go and have some activities instead of hanging out on corners."

_ If you have a story about Keystone, Odessa or Citrus Park, call Erika Duckworth at 226-3472.