Hillsborough County is purchasing a little more than one and a half acres of land in the Citrus Park area near the existing Little League fields on Gunn Highway.
The land is an entire block of property located north of the county's Citrus Park Little League field between Alloway Street and Alema Street west of Gunn Hwy. The parcel of land is designated for recreational use, but officials aren't sure exactly what they'll do with it yet.
The land purchase completes a community saga that began in 2011.
In 2011, residents became embroiled in a contentious fight over what should be done with $1.6 million leftover from money set aside for the community.
Some wanted a recreation center, while others wanted to use the money to expand the baseball and softball fields where Citrus Park Little League plays.
In the end, residents decided to split the money up into three separate pools, including storm water drainage improvements, an expansion to the Little League fields and the purchase of land for what could one day become a recreation center.
Currently, a parcel of land behind the existing Little League complex is being turned into a ball field with lights for night games, said Steve Mayes, president of Citrus Park Little League.
The purchase of the three parcels of land, which Hillsborough County Commissioners approved money for on Nov. 15, completes the community's plan.
The land consists of three private residences. All told, they sit on about 1.6 acres. The total purchase amount is about $1-million.
"You have to have land to do anything," said Steve Valdez, Hillsborough County spokesperson. "But the issue is not over. It's far from over."
Mayes said he is pleased with how the county has handled the land purchase issue and feels the rear field under construction now will help with the league's need for more space.
"It gives us a chance to play at night back there," Mayes said. "That's all that's really doing for us, adding more games, which is what we needed."
As for the land between Alloway Street and Alema Street, Valdez said more land would be needed if the county were to build anything on it.
For now, "at least we're doing what the community wanted," he said. "We’re taking the investment and investing it in the community for future development."
What would you like to see the county do with the land? Let us know in the comments section.