City officials recently gave the go-ahead to begin initial planning and design work for the Oldsmar Sports Complex Master Plan Phase 1B.
While the renovation of the neighboring Woodlands Square plaza, future home of Earth Fare Oldsmar, continues, City officials recently gave the go-ahead to begin initial work on the first phase of the Oldsmar Sports Complex Master Plan.
Phase 1B of the project, which is expected to turn the old Canal Park into a “world class sports complex,” will reportedly include new multi-purpose fields and a new press box/plaza/concession area, a large pavilion with play elements plus driveway and parking improvements as well as upgrades to drainage, lighting and turf.
During a recent budget workshop, the City Council agreed to start with Phase 1B instead of Phase 1A as officials continue to negotiate with SWIFTMUD over the possible acquisition of additional land on the site.
Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.
“We’re flip-flopping Phase 1A with 1B because we’re still in discussions with SWIFTMUD over property they own that we’d like to add to include soccer fields and other additions,” Mayor Doug Bevis told Oldsmar Connect days after the August 11 workshop, noting the presence of Lake Tarpon Outfall Canal on the Tampa Road site requires studies to be conducted.
“So, we’re entering into an agreement for a grant to fund a study regarding our options.”
“They’re probably willing to work with us if we help fund the study,” he added. “Until that is done, we’re going to jump to Phase 1B and work on upgrading the existing fields so we can accommodate professional soccer.”
Bevis said he hoped the soccer fields could be ready, but not finished, by the first of the year so the City could work on hosting Major League Soccer teams that have made Pinellas County their spring training home the last few years.
“Between us and Clearwater, we could accommodate bigger events and tournaments in the area,” he said. “That’s attractive to us from a tourism standpoint.”
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.
Leisure Services Director Felicia Donnelly said they entering discussions on the initial work with local firm Stantec.
“We’re beginning negotiations with Stantec to do the design and engineering work for Phase 1B,” she told Oldsmar Connect.
Oldsmar Leisure Services Director Felicia Donnelly.
Donnelly noted the work on Phase 1A was originally estimated at $3.5 million, but the figure would change due to the switch to 1B.
“Work on 1A included the entrance driveway, where 1B doesn’t,” she explained.
“So, we don’t have a cost estimate, because we’re in the conceptual planning stage and we changed the scope.”
When asked, Donnelly said she didn’t have a timetable for the start or completion of the project, but she gave an estimation based on her years of experience working on massive park projects for the City of Clearwater.
“It’s in the very beginning stages,” she said.
“But it’s been my experience that projects of this scope typically take a year to plan and design and another year to complete the work.”
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