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Excitement builds over giant park

By CHUIN-WEI YAP
Published January 26, 2007


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In many ways, Jeff Miller is a typical central Pasco resident.

He is 38 and moved to the Saddlewood community with his wife three years ago from southern California. Both are Realtors. They have three small children and expect twins in July.

The kids are a big reason Miller's thrilled with what's happening at the corner of Overpass and Boyette roads.

Eight months ago, the 120 acres on that corner were nothing but a mass of trees.

Now, signs are heralding the imminent arrival of Wesley Chapel's first county park.

"I can't wait," Miller said. "The stuff they're doing now, we're so excited."

As an "active recreation" park, the Wesley Chapel facility will be Pasco's biggest of its kind, said Rick Buckman, the county's parks and recreation director.

The $20-million first phase of the complex will be opened in May, Buckman said. A tentative date of May 7 has been set, though this might change.

By then, the park will have 10 fields, each of which can be interchanged for football or soccer; four tennis courts; four basketball courts; and a "boundless" playground for special needs children, among other features.

Its second phase will include a swimming center, a skateboard park and a recreation complex, with a gymnasium and indoor basketball court.

"It's twice the size of anything we've ever done," Buckman said.

It's a slight exaggeration, but not by much.

The county's second biggest "active recreation" park is also in central Pasco, on 80 acres in Land O'Lakes off Collier Parkway. All other bigger parks in Pasco are "passive recreation" parks, like the Starkey Wilderness Park, Buckman said.

Chuin-Wei Yap covers growth and development. He can be reached at 813 909-4613 or cyap@sptimes.com.

[Last modified January 25, 2007, 08:49:41]


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