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Older area needs park for influx of youngsters
A Times Editorial
Published November 27, 2007
Lake Lisa is about to become a recreational oasis. The undeveloped 15-acre tract in west Pasco will be getting a makeover into a much-needed park pending County Commission approval today of a $434,000 construction contract.
The property, south and west of Embassy and Regency Park boulevards, is in the heart of west Pasco's former identity: stucco-sided, two-bedroom homes that 30 years ago helped lure retirees here by the tens of thousands. But seniors gave way to younger families with school-age children as attested to by U.S. Census data showing the area's median age dropping to 46 from 61 during the 1990s, and the number of preschool-age children increasing by 60 percent. It is why the school district continues to build schools in the former retiree haven.
Education isn't the only youth-oriented infrastructure in need of expansion. The area's major housing developments of Regency Park, Embassy Hills and others predate county requirements for neighborhood parks and the private sector's community development district strategy that pays for recreational amenities in newly built subdivisions.
And, let's face it, heading to the civic association for a bingo game or potluck dinner isn't much of an attraction for families busy with two jobs, homework assignments and school activities.
The result leaves former senior-oriented neighborhoods occupied by families who must travel several miles for recreation at the nearest county parks, to Veterans Memorial Park in Hudson or south to the W.H. Jack Mitchell Park fields along Little Road.
That is about to change. The county, which acquired the land after a proposed affordable housing apartment complex failed to qualify for state tax credits, will hire an Odessa company to do the site work and build 2,800 feet of walkways, plus basketball and handball courts.
Lake Lisa - the site includes a tiny lake - will not offer the same level of amenities as the county's regional parks. But the courts, green space and walkways will provide a welcome change of pace for the residents nearby.
Lake Lisa Park is a worthwhile investment by the county in new recreational opportunities for some of west Pasco's older neighborhoods.