Cooking lessons, a playground and a hiking trail are just some of the features of Harvest Hope Park, a new space planned for 20th Street, north of Fletcher Avenue, in the University area of Tampa.
The University Area Community Development Corporation
announced last week that it received a $423,000 community development block grant from Hillsborough County, and raised $90,000 during its fifth annual gala to build the 7-acre park. The corporation's mission is to redevelop and sustain the at-risk areas surrounding the University of South Florida
's Tampa campus.
Ground is expected to be broken on the park in November when lighting, irrigation, fencing and parking will be installed. A learning kitchen and community garden are already in place.
"Building a park in the heart of the community is about more than just a construction project," says Sarah Combs, the corporation's CEO, "it is about sending a message to the residents of the University Community, letting them know that we care about them and positive change is coming. This community has been promised many things over the past couple decades, and there will never be a more opportunistic time than now to unite and leverage our partnerships, to truly create a healthy and vibrant community."
The park will be completed in phases, with total completion expected in 2018. Once complete, it will feature a tilapia fish farm, hiking trail, playground and sports field.
"The Harvest Hope Park will be the beacon of hope this community needs, uniting residents, encouraging family unity, and most importantly, offering positive activities for youth and adults so they will begin to feel like this is their home, this is their community," Combs says.
In the meantime, the corporation is inviting children ages 9-14 to participate in an eight-week basketball league.
Registration will take place Oct. 3-14. Practices will be Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, starting Oct. 17, 6-9 p.m., depending on the age group. Games will be played on Saturdays, starting Oct. 22, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The cost is $45.
To register, call 813-558-5212 or stop by the corporation's center at 14013 N. 22nd St. in Tampa.