Canal Park Master Plan creates a “world class sports complex”

Details of Oldsmar’s Canal Park Master Plan were revealed during the City Council meeting on Tuesday night.

A conceptual drawing of the Canal Park master Plan highlights proposed improvements, including additional fields and facilities, bike/hiking trails, more parking and an RV campground.

A conceptual drawing of the Canal Park Master Plan shows the proposed improvements, which include new fields and facilities, biking/hiking trails, additional parking, an RV campground and more amenities.

Details of Oldsmar’s Canal Park Master Plan update were revealed on Tuesday night, and based on the preliminary concepts, the proposed changes could transform the park into a world class sports complex.

Leisure Services Director Lynn Rives used a PowerPoint presentation as well as conceptual drawings to illustrate the results of a survey where representatives of the organizations that use the park were asked about changes they would like to see happen at the park, which sits on 46 acres of land between Tampa and Curlew roads.

The input led consultant STANTEC to come up with a plan that features new soccer, baseball and multi-purpose fields as well as office and concession facilities, plus a revamped entrance on Tampa Road, more parking spaces, hiking, biking and walking trails and a sheltered pavilion. The new additions would combine with the recently rebuilt BMX Supercross track at the park to form a world class, multi-faceted sports complex.

Canal Park

Canal Park is located at 3120 Tampa Road in Oldsmar.

“What our intent was with developing the master plan is to make Canal Park a destination,” Rives told the council.

“We have world class people coming here for BMX, well, let’s make it a destination so they come here to play soccer, they come here to play football.”

The concept was met with universal praise from the four council members (Gabby McGee was absent from the meeting), with Jerry Beverland stating the plan is “incredible” while noting the changes would make the area into more than just a park.

“This would be a sports complex,” Beverland said.

Oldsmar officials unveiled its world class BMX Supercross track for the Gator Nationals event in October 2015.

Oldsmar officials Bruce Haddock, Lynn Rives and Mayor Doug Bevis unveiled the city’s new world class BMX Supercross track at the Gator Nationals event in October 2015.

Mayor Doug Bevis agreed, and he praised those involved for trying to get as many new facilities and amenities as possible.

“Ask for the moon and stars and hopefully you’ll get them all!” he said.

Rives said he will meet with representatives for SWIFTMUD and Duke Energy next month; the two companies hold a licensing agreement for 76 acres of land adjacent to Canal Park, which expires in 2018.

Officials hope they can convince representatives from the companies to allow the city to use part of the land for RV parking and a special events-only campsite prior to the expiration of the agreement.

“We’ve had good preliminary conversations, but we still have some things to work out,” Rives said, adding, “the interest is there.”

Rives noted that any work would be done in segments, with top priorities being the new fields, improving the park’s entrance, and additional parking.

“It has to be a phased project,” he said in reponse to a question from Vice-Mayor Eric Seidel.

Rives also said the intent is to bring the completed Canal Park Master Plan before the council for approval sometime after the New Year.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

After the meeting, the mayor expanded on the potential of the new and improved Canal Park.

“We knew the park needed to be addressed—it was one of the council’s priorities this year—so it was definitely something we wanted to do, to bring up the quality of the park after building that world class BMX facility,” Bevis told Oldsmar Connect.

“Now it’s going to be enhanced, not just for soccer and football and BMX, but for all those sports and more. I’m excited about it.”

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