Plans for a new stage in Land O' Lakes took a step forward this month.
The Pasco Board of County Commissioners, the District School Board of Pasco County and community supporters broke ground for the performing arts venue on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at Land O' Lakes Community Park
, north of Tampa.
Not only will the 1,020-square-foot stage serve the community, it will also be available to nearby Sanders Memorial Elementary School
"This stage is going to actually be a cornerstone of future cultural events here in Land O' Lakes, something that we currently don't have -- and we have a lack of countywide, actually," said Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore during the groundbreaking ceremony. "So you can think about things that are going to be happening on that stage could be school band concerts, plays, pageants, and various other presentations. It's just going to be a wonderful amenity."
The $250,000 stage is the second part of $2.3 million worth of improvements to the park where the Land O' Lakes Community Center is located. The first phase was celebrated about a year ago with a ribbon-cutting for a new practice field, football field, softball field, walking trail, concession building with restrooms and meeting rooms, maintenance building, event field, two shelters, parking lots, playground and remodeled patio area.
Money for the stage comes from donations from architects, contractors and a grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
The park was built in the 1960s, and an organization called the Heritage Park Foundation
was created in 1997 to help protect it.
"Our desire was to keep our little historical park alive, to keep it as a community gathering spot it was created to be, and the co-facilitated shared use of space with Sanders Elementary," Sandy Graves, honorary mayor of Land O' Lakes and Heritage Park Foundation president, said during the Aug. 16 event. "That was the plan from the inception."
The group has long advocated for a stage at the park.
"Heritage Park Foundation has a motto," Graves said, "building a better community by building a better community center."
Construction on the stage is expected to begin in the fall and wrap up in January 2017.