ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. — Zephyr Park is Zephyrhills’ Central Park.
It’s an area landmark that Rose Marie Lyckowski visits each day for an expertise that she mentioned virtually feels non secular.
“There’s no phrases,” she mentioned. “I’ve gone to different parks within the space, and I all the time come again right here.”
The sprawling 34-acre park, situated on fifth Avenue close to town’s downtown, has majestic oak timber that date again to the Civil Warfare period, a number of playgrounds, a group heart that may be rented for weddings and different occasions, and a splash pad.
There’s a fear, nevertheless, concerning the adjustments that is perhaps coming because the Metropolis of Zephyrhills brainstorms methods to reimagine Zephyr Park.
“Nicely, if it adjustments an excessive amount of, I ain’t coming again,” Lyckowski mentioned.
A latest Fb put up by Essential Road Zephyrhills shared a blueprint, which was developed in 2015, which floats a redesign of the park. The brand new design would come with the addition of a canine park, a boardwalk, and an out of doors wedding ceremony venue. Nonetheless, the design requires eradicating the park’s present tennis courts and its historic group heart. Moreover, the redesign requires a smaller play space for kids.
The thought of a smaller play space would not sit effectively with Crystal Small, who takes her youngsters to the park a number of instances per week.
“There’s a want for playgrounds right here for the kids,” she mentioned.
It’s not simply Small who had considerations concerning the potential redesign. The Fb put up on Essential Road Zephyrhills’ web page produced dozens of involved, pissed off, and even indignant feedback and reactions.
“The entire adjustments are unhappy to me I’ve actually thought of shifting!” one commenter wrote. “Simply unhappy.”
Town is responding to the frustration.
Based on Metropolis Supervisor Invoice Poe, nothing has been determined regarding Zephyr Park.
He mentioned the potential redesign, a rendering of which was shared within the Fb put up by Essential Road Zephyrhills, is simply an concept that an architect developed in 2015 earlier than the push to renovate the park at the moment was shelved.
Now, as town renews its effort to renovate Zephyr, it pulled that design as an example earlier issues for the park.
“There are not any plans in place,” Poe assured. “You understand, the plans that you simply see, are what? Eight years previous now? And we wish to have conversations with the residents…and we simply wish to be sure that…what was proven in 2015, is that what remains to be the case as what’s wished and wanted in 2023?”
Poe mentioned any concrete plan for Zephyr Park will solely be developed after town will get public suggestions in an upcoming assembly. That suggestions will assist information what’s and isn’t in a future design.
“Oh, it’s extraordinarily vital,” he mentioned of the general public’s suggestions. “If we construct the improper factor, we’re simply losing cash.”
That assembly is about for April 27 at 6 p.m. at Zephyrhills Metropolis Corridor.
Moreover, Poe mentioned no timeline has been established for renovating the park.
In the meantime, John Brown isn’t fazed by the frustration on Fb.
“Some folks round listed below are caught of their methods,” he mentioned. “I perceive that.”
Brown is the coach of Zephyrhills Little League. As he coached his staff in a calming nook of the park Thursday, he couldn’t assist however dream of nicer services at Zephyr Park, together with a backstop for his frequent practices.
To Brown, the rising metropolis desperately wants to take a position extra in its parks.
“As a result of we don’t have the services and infrastructure to sort of sustain with the expansion that we’re going via,” he mentioned.