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.

 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 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.

Marcus October 11, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Well it's nice to see that the City of Largo has so much money constantly that they get to throw around and THEN raise Largo's millage rate. And the most pitiful thing is in order to make this so-called improvement they are cutting established older tress down left and right so residents not only have to pay for all this but also get to hear the continual unnecessary destruction of trees by a city that claims to be the "city of trees" . Residents also get to enjoy the LOUD construction then on top of that we get to be inundated with more LOUD speakers with BOOMING BASS that we get almost nightly anyway but now will have NO buffer as trees have been massacred in the meantime so others can enjoy the so-called NATURE park? Oh and all the shade those trees provide make it almost bearable in the summer (we know they gave us small tiny trees for free that don't grow btw) but the older ones ARE TREASURED but I guess not as much as all that tax money you really NEED for "necessary services" while residents can barely afford to live there! Yet the city ALWAYS has brand new vehicles and can re-build every "community" center in a 3 square block area of the city offices! Once one's done they start on another one - Why can't you JUST LEAVE NATURE and things that aren't broken alone!!!


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