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Plan afoot for sports fields

By STEPHANIE HAYES
Published January 5, 2007


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As more and more youth sports teams scramble for places to play, Hillsborough County is assessing the situation.

The county Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department has gathered information from the community to implement a parks master plan. A series of recent public meetings and random surveys will help a consulting firm orchestrate the plan.

Planners hope to review all the information in March.

"One of the reasons the master plan is being undertaken now is to use it as a planning tool for the budget process," said Peter Fowler, a department division manager. "This is our off year right now. It'll be a useful tool in developing our prediction for the next two years."

Sports coaches from areas including Westchase, Keystone, New Tampa and Brandon have pined for bigger and better playing spaces. They have complained of inconsistent maintenance, tight space and subpar field conditions.

The county has acquired new spaces in New Tampa, Live Oak, Brandon and Progress Village, Fowler said.

"We don't have details right now," Fowler said. "We will begin the planning process, and that's when we'll figure out what type of facilities to build."

The staff is also searching for space in the crowded Westchase area.

Still, there's "nothing that we have been able to finalize," Fowler said. "We are working with the county real estate department."

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or (813) 269-5303.

[Last modified January 4, 2007, 21:46:02]


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