Village plans to secure remaining 6 acres of land for park
Wesley Chapel took the next step in the development of Dogwood Acres, the village’s first municipal park during their Monday, Sept. 12 meeting. The village council announced plans to purchase the remaining 6 acres of land by the end of the month.
From the beginning, the council intended to purchase 22.6 acres of land at the corner of Hwy. 84 and Lester Davis Road. Earlier this year, Wesley Chapel purchased more than 16 acres of the land for $750,000. The remaining 6 acres will cost $300,000. The village has been fortunate enough to receive a total of $605,000 from three different grants to put toward land purchase and park construction.
The next step in the park’s development will be securing a conditional use permit, which will establish certain regulations regarding the park’s construction.
“It’s a political process, but it’s necessary to make sure there won’t be any safety hazards or damage to the property,” Wesley Chapel Mayor Pro-Tem Sondra Bradford said. “We want to make sure the park design is good. We definitely want it to be a safe place.”
The village also hopes to hire a firm within the next month to start construction. Council members plan to interview three different firms Sept. 20 and make a final selection shortly afterward.
Although official development of the park hasn’t started, community members are already getting involved. Volunteers donated their time and effort last month to perform general maintenance of the park, including picking up trash and debris throughout the property.
The village has no immediate plans to have another volunteer endeavor, but Bradford said another community effort is highly possible.
“We’ll be looking for those opportunities to engage our community,” she said.
Two years ago, the council conducted a community survey, which asked members what services they would like to see within the park. The village council plans to take the most highly requested amenities and include them in the construction plans. “(Our citizens) wanted a nice, natural, beautiful place to go, and we feel that we’re delivering what the people of Wesley Chapel wanted most,” said Bradford.
The council hopes to begin the first phase of park construction as soon as the firm is hired and the conditional use permit is secured. Phase One will include some of the basic amenities, such as walking, biking, and hiking trails.
As the village continues to press forward toward Dogwood Acres, citizens and council members are thrilled at the idea of finally having their own community park. “The parks and recreation committee should be very proud,” said Bradford. “I can’t wait to see it become a reality and see all their hard work pay off.”