Zephyrhills Free Press

A Herculean Project

City gets a look at what Hercules Park could look like

The Hercules Park has been dormant for several years since the close of the community pool, but the City of Zephyrhills is looking at designs to bring life back to this once jewel of the community.

The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) commissioners, made up of all five Zephyrhills City Council members, saw a glimpse of what the park could look like in the not-so-distant future.

CRA Director Gail Hamilton presented an engineer’s rendering of the park that features three distinct areas; a multipurpose bicycle track beneath the canopy of trees, an open play area and a playground. Included are several pavilions, picnic areas, a walking and running trail. While no rest rooms were included in the drawings, it was advised by the CRA board to have restrooms installed.

No costs estimates for the park renovation were presented and with the rise of construction costs, it is unclear what the price tag for the complete park renovation.

“We’re still at 30,000 feet and looking for ideas,” Hamilton said. “It’s unfair to provide any costs estimates.”

Hamilton reported that public input has been gathered through surveys, public workshops and other public outreach methods and it was nearly unanimous that something was needed for the youth of the community. The three areas each provide something for children.

The bike track is a conceptual project, but looks to have support to provide something for children to have fun and be challenged. It will also be shaded. The open area will provide room for games and family fun while the playground will have a focus on the younger children.

CR Board member Ken Burgess would like to see an educational piece that would allow classes of students from nearby Woodland Elementary School to walk to the park where there could be learning stations.

Councilman Lance Smith added that a water park component similar to the Splash Pad at Zephyr Park would be a highly used amenity at Hercules. Smith also addressed maintenance of the facility and requested that artificial turf would be an effective way to reduce maintenance costs.

“The more we add, the more maintenance cost there will be,” Hamilton reminded the board. “Then it will require more coverage at the park. When you start building parks, maintenance will be an issue.”

Hamilton noted that a public art component will be added paying tribute to the history of the Hercules Powder Company.

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