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Pool, amphitheater on civic center wish list

Civic association members say the existing facility, which was built more than 20 years ago, is showing its age.

By JENNIFER FARRELL

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001


SPRING HILL -- With plans for the Nimmagadda Cultural Center moving closer to reality, the Spring Hill Civic Association is developing a wish list of its own for the remainder of its 22.8-acre tract off Kenlake Avenue.

The association has formed a development committee to gauge interest among residents for replacing the existing community center and expanding its services.

So far, the facilities wish list includes an amphitheater, swimming pool and skate park.

"We hope to have it very versatile," said Ki Hill, an association board member who is heading the newly formed committee. "We are open to any of the needs out there."

The existing civic center, which was built more than two decades ago, no longer meets residents' needs, said association president Bill Fagan.

"I've had people say they wouldn't have a party for their dog there," he said. "We need a real nice community meeting place."

The effort is still in the planning phase and will take shape in line with feedback from people who live in Spring Hill, according to Fagan. He said the association has contacted an architect who is puttting together a conceptual design for the project.

Cost is still a question mark, as is how to pay for the expansion, said Fagan. He hopes to meet with county officials and explore grant funding, with an eye toward breaking ground within two years.

Once built, Fagan said, he expects the center will be self-supporting through user fees.

Fagan and Hill would like any new facility to complement the proposed Nimmagadda Cultural Center, which is planned for a 5-acre tract to be leased from the civic association south of Applegate Drive and west of Kenlake Avenue near the Little Red Schoolhouse.

Its design calls for three pavilions in two buildings: one that will hold a 1,000-seat concert hall and another that will include classrooms for arts education and meetings as well as an art gallery.

Fagan encouraged anyone interested in helping with the development project or getting more information to call the civic association at 686-5476.

"It's very important that this is developed for what the residents want," Hill said. "We have so many things in our mind that we could do. We're really only limited by our imagination."

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