Highland Recreation Center To Get an Over Haul
The center was originally built in 1972. It still has the original roof. That is all set to change sometime during the winter of 2013 when Largo residents can enjoy a brand new recreation center.
Highland Recreation Complex is set to get a much needed revamp. The improvement project is set to begin possibly late this year with an estimated completion date in the winter of 2013.
The $18 million project will give residents access to a double gymnasium, a suspended track above the basketball court, outdoor paths and an expanded fitness room.
The new facility, once completed will also have an indoor climbing structure the equivalent of three-stories high.
“These are pretty common up north where it’s winter nine months out of the year,” said Joan Byrne, director of parks and recreation.
“Here, it’s so hot all the time so kids and even the elderly can still exercise while still being indoors.”
Another new amenity coming to Highland Recreation Complex is an exer-game room. The room will contain games that get players to exercise without even realizing it.
“We’re talking about stuff like that game, Dance Dance Revolution,” Byrne said. “You watch kids play that game and they’re all sweaty, but they don’t realize they’re exercising because it’s a video game.”
The project will move the recreation center closer to Highland Road for better visibility to non-residents. The new facility will be where the Skate Park is now. Once the construction is complete they will move into the new facility and demolish the old one.
Developers also plan to coordinate the Aquatic Center into the facility, though that attraction will stay put.
Rates will stay the same for usage. Residents can use the facility for $10 per year, or $55 for non-residents. Other payment options are available as well.
Construction on the new facility will not impact use of the current facility, Byrne said. Though the nearby construction might make things “not as neat as usual”.
The project is being paid for by the local option sales tax that may only be used for infrastructure. Byrne said, no additional staff will be required at the new facility due to a more adequate use of space. Currently, the facility generates approximately 70 percent of its operating costs. Byrne hopes the new facility will generate even more.
Community Development Changes in the Horizon
Other projects anticipated in the coming months and years include redevelopment among Largo’s activity centers such as downtown and the US 19 and the Roosevelt area.
“We made style sheets that really guide us in how to make [those areas] more walkable and urban,” Carol Stricklin, director of community development said.
“That is our focus, making plans to guide us in development of those areas.”
Residents can also expect future changes to the Tri-City Plaza as it awaits updates as well as redevelopment of Crossroads Mall. Stricklin said she anticipates the space being primarily used for retail, though the possibility of residential development does exist.
Providing means for multi-modal transportation is also being looked into as officials revisit their community development strategic plan that originated in 2004.
"We have done a lot of public involvement and a lot of people want more choices as far as bikes and busses and even light rail premium transit," Stricklin said.