Canal Park to become Oldsmar Sports Complex

Canal Park

Canal Park, located at 3120 Tampa Road in Oldsmar, could be renamed the Oldsmar Sports Complex once a recommendation from Council member Gabby McGee is approved.

Last summer, the Oldsmar City Council agreed to create a new Master Plan for Canal Park, one that would transform the Tampa Road park into a world-class sports complex featuring BMX racing, soccer, baseball and more.

Thanks to a recent decision the by the council, the park will be getting a brand-new name as well.

The April 18 agenda included an item that called for changing the name to the Canal Park Sports Complex to be in alignment with the Master Plan; the idea was based on a recommendation from the Leisure Services Advisory Board.

Oldsmar City Council member Gabby McGee.

Oldsmar City Council member Gabby McGee.

But during the discussion of the memorandum, Council member Gabby McGee suggested taking the name change one step further.

“I would prefer that we change the name to the Oldsmar Sports Complex,” McGee said.

“And the reason why I say that is because I think, nationally, if we were to have and event…in the future, the Canal Park Sports Complex gives no recognition to the city or the location.”

McGee went on to explain that she believes the city should have its name on a facility that is planned to host several major events every year.

“I think that the area where the park is, as residents or visitors come through on their way to Tampa, there’s not really a ‘Welcome to the City of Oldsmar’ or a recognition that they’re within the City of Oldsmar versus East Lake or other areas,” she said.

“I think a nice good sign that says, ‘Oldsmar Sports Complex’ at that park would be some nice branding and name recognition for our city.”

McGee’s suggestion was met with near unanimous support from her fellow lawmakers.

“I agree,” Jerry Beverland said. “I think the Oldsmar Sports Complex is fine, and leave out the ‘canal.’”

“I agree, too,” Eric Seidel added. “I think it’s a smart.”

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. Credit: City of Oldsmar.

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. Credit: City of Oldsmar.

Vice-Mayor Dan Saracki also agreed with the idea, although the council members weren’t quite as enamored with a suggestion from Mayor Doug Bevis.

“How about a hybrid, like the Oldsmar Sports Complex at Canal Park?” Bevis offered. “Just because that’s what it’s been known, kind of like when you merge companies.”

After a few grumbles about the moniker, McGee said, “I don’t want to over-complicate it with length.”

The council ultimately agreed to send their recommendation back to the LS board and let them make the final recommendation.

After the meeting, McGee spoke about the motivation behind her idea.

“I suggested an alternate name for the park of the Oldsmar Sports Complex because from a national standpoint, Canal Park provides no recognition for the city on any of our sporting events,” she told Oldsmar Connect.

“In addition, I feel that a name like the Oldsmar Sports Complex will also help build our identity for visitors passing through on Tampa Road so they know they are within the City of Oldsmar.”

The item will come back to the council for a final vote at a future date.

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