A $3.7-million expansion at Oscar Cooler Youth Sports Complex in Lutz is on track for completion in April.
Construction began in September on a new soccer and football complex at the corner Lutz-Lake Fern Road and Crooked Lane, located across the street from the 35-year-old original park.
A $300,000 renovation of the baseball complex is scheduled to begin once construction has been completed on the new soccer and football fields.
Care was taken to preserve a portion of the wetlands that exist on the project site, says John Brill of the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation department.
"When this thing first started, it was a pine forest, basically," says Brill. "The first thing they had to do was they removed a colony of gopher tortoises and relocated them. Then, they started the harvesting of the pine, then they started moving the earth around."
The complex includes new restrooms and concession stands, a playground and parking lot. The new soccer and football facilities were established as self-contained entities, separate from the original complex, in order to discourage children from crossing through traffic on Crooked Lane.
A new youth soccer league is planned for the facility.
Brill says construction will be substantially complete by the end of March, with an opening date tentatively planned for late April.
The original complex will be renovated and expanded. Existing ball fields will be improved, with new fences and new lighting, and a softball diamond will be added. One of the fields will be realigned in order to accommodate an expanded parking area.
Writer: Carter Gaddis
Source: John Brill, Hillsborough County