Swann Avenue Pond Upgrades

SWANN-AVE-FOUNTAIN-PONDThe Swann Avenue property is owned by the Hillsborough Expressway Authority. The director of contract administration, for the city of Tampa, declared the initiation of a project of about $900,000 to $1 million for maintaining the beauty and serenity of the property.

The project is funded by various sources and government agencies. As a part of this project, Swann Avenue Pond will undergo a transformation into the Hyde Park Gateway. The project includes landscaping the block existing between Rome and Packwood Avenues and fencing it. The pond will be properly cleaned on a regular basis. A lighted fountain will be built in the center of the pond. The roads will be broadened and new sidewalks will be built.

Besides the pond, two shaded shelters with nine benches will be constructed. One of the benches will be painted red to express gratitude towards the project’s largest donor. It is said that the public-private partnership with two mayors, two neighborhood associations, under five presidents and multiple government agencies, have worked in concordance with each other for redesigns and improvements. The city will provide reconstruction and maintenance by contributions by the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association and Historic Hyde Park Preservation Inc., as well as individual donors.

A real estate developer expressed his concerns about the bad condition of the pond and stated that over time people believe that the pond will never be cleaned and its condition will never improve. He decided to involve himself in the reconstruction efforts. He stated his interest in a 680-acre master-planned Stonelake Ranch in Lake Thonotosassa, a Texas wind farm, and two hotels in development in Orlando. The President of the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association stated that the property was earlier a little league field and then in the 70’s a Crosstown and neighborhood runoff was built.

People have expressed concerns about pedestrian safety; however, the pond was part of the developed South Tampa commercial hubs. This issue has since become a topic of debate amongst those involved. The developer stated that with a greater number of people it becomes difficult to achieve a consensus. A retired business consultant and Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association board member stated that they made efforts to raise money for Bern’s Park and Kate Jackson Park by fundraisers, home tours, and patron parties. The business consultant expressed her discontent about WS Development’s indifference towards the project.

The project developments include: a completed Swann Avenue Crosstown Underpass project, $250,000 worth of lighting and landscaping, purchased with the aid of the Republican National Convention in 2012, when the organization hosted its convention in the city. The developer further stated that he was satisfied with his meager contribution towards the project. He stated that all efforts are worthwhile.