A plan to bring multi-use athletic fields to North Greenwood moves closer as the city council will talk about the potential project at its meeting Tuesday (Nov. 15) night.
With the soon-to-be expanded North Greenwood Library and Recreation Center nearby, it seems only natural to develop the old parking lot and former landfill fields into an athletic Valhalla, say members of the city's Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
Ray Shaw, chairman of the advisory board, helped draft a letter to the council about the need for the multi-use fields:
“Although we understand that there may be still a wide divergence of opinions on how this property should be used in the future, we believe that now is the time to revisit the site, and retain and enhance the present use of recreation consistent with the present zoning,” members wrote in the letter.
In the past, the council tried to develop the land for economic development. But to get approval for the possible retail space or nursing homes, voters had to approve the projects. They did not.
The Winning Inning, Boys and Girls Club and other groups work with the city to run programs helping kids in the crime riddled area.
“There’s a lot of good synergy that makes sense,” said Kevin Dunbar, parks and recreation director. “The first step in that process is to get council support to get active athletic fields.”
Green space in North Greenwood is also decreasing the board said. The Philip Jones Field closed more than two years ago because of environmental concerns and the other open field near the Martin Luther King center, is owned by Pinellas County Schools, and the lease to use those fields ends this year.
A ballpark figure to develop the fields is about $250,000. That is about what it cost for the fields at the Joe DiMaggio complex, the city's multi-use fields near Bright House Field.
“It would be money spent up front but would pay dividends on the back end,” said board member Jonathan Wade.
Partnerships, grants and other money could easily become available to help cover costs of the field, members of the board said. But keeping the fields up, paying for the lights and irrigation and other continued costs could make the project difficult to get off the ground.
The cost to maintain a field is $50,000 to $75,000 a year.
“The timing seems right for it to happen," Wade said.
If you go:
What: City council meeting to discuss Jack Russell Stadium field plan
When: 6 p.m.
Where: City Hall, 111. S Osceola Ave.