When the Pasco commission meets Tuesday, Sept. 6, members of the from Land O’ Lakes will be on hand to implore the county to stop cutting funding for the parks and recreation department.
The county’s parks department has faced budget cuts numerous years in a row and is now looking at a potential loss of more than $400,000 this year.
“Parks have been cut down to the bone,” said Sandy Graves, president of the foundation.
The Heritage Park Foundation is a nonprofit that was formed to provide support to the . The group has been raising money for improvements at that park, such as the creation of an amphitheater and a trail that would chronicle the community’s history.
Heritage Park members have spent the summer lobbying to get the county to release funding for . The plan calls for redoing the playing fields, adding a new concession stand/restroom facility and enhanced parking. Money for the project, which is estimated to cost more than $1 million, has already been set aside from impact fee collections. Impact fees are charged to developers to offset the costs of providing services, such as parks, in areas of new growth.
While Graves said she doesn’t anticipate the county will fund the renovation project in this year’s budget, she does hope to gain some assurances from commissioners. It is her hope to get the commission to say it will move forward with the project as soon as possible and that the funding set aside for construction will remain secured for that project only.
“I just kind of want it on paper,” she said.
Even though a release of funding this year doesn’t seem likely, Graves said Heritage Park members do plan to continue . The petition asks commissioners to release the money for construction as soon as possible.
To take part in the petition drive, just print out the PDF attached to this story. Once a sheet is filled out with signatures of Pasco County residents, it can be mailed to the foundation at PO Box 1473, Land O’ Lakes, FL 34639.
For more information, call 813-996-3011.
Tuesday’s commission meeting takes place at 37918 Meridian Ave. in Dade City. The meeting starts at 10 a.m., and Graves is hoping a number of supporters will turn out to express their concerns about parks funding.