FishHawk Residents to Weigh in on Plans to Expand Sports Complex

The public meeting will be held tonight at the Palmetto Club.

Members of the county parks staff will take another stab at a plan to expand the FishHawk Sports Complex that all residents can agree upon.

A public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Palmetto Club, 17004 Dorman Rd., Lithia.

At the meeting, members of the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department will discuss a new plan to expand the sports complex with five more fields for the soccer and football programs along with parking.

At the urging of soccer parents and players, the county first proposed an expansion of the complex in December 2011 to accommodate the growing soccer program.

The sports complex on FishHawk Boulevard was built in 2008 with eight ball fields, four multipurpose fields, a concession stand, restrooms and parking.

However, the sports programs in FishHawk Ranch have grown so large during the past four years that players have difficulty getting field time. About 4,000 children play baseball, softball, soccer, football and lacrosse at the complex.

But when parks director Mark Thornton proposed adding fields to the west of the complex last year, residents of the nearby Starling neighborhood protested, arguing that having fields behind their homes would disrupt their lifestyle and lower their property values.

Keeping the concerns of Starling residents in mind, the county will return tonight with a new proposal to expand the complex using $2.8 million in impact fees.

Under the new proposal, the county will construct the new fields behind Randall Middle School as well as improve the middle school's existing fields.

For more information on the meeting, contact Steve Valdez, Citizen Services, 813-635-5400.



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