CARROLLWOOD – By next January it will be game on at the Northdale Recreation Center.
The center, at 15550 Spring Pine Drive in Tampa, held a groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 7 for its new gymnasium. The 10,000-square-foot facility will include a basketball court that will host youth and adult leagues, kitchen facility, and other amenities.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan said that the gym was built to fulfill a need in the community. The center is right across the street from the Bob Sierra Family YMCA, which is building a new gymnastics facility.
The gym will cost around $1.8 million, but Hagan said it will be put to good use. The ceremony was attended by dozens of members of the OWLS – Older Wiser Lively Seniors – who plan to make use of the new facility with pickleball tournaments and other events. Also, other indoor leagues besides basketball are in the works, including soccer and dodge ball.
“We’ve had to turn away too many kids because of the demands of the community,” Hagan said. “We don’t want to turn away any more and this will go a long way to helping us.”
The idea to expand in Northdale came after budget cuts forced the closing of several of the county rec centers. There were 23 centers before the cuts that reduced the amount to 10. Northdale had enough traffic coming through the gym that it was kept open. Nearby Country Place was closed and some of its employees were moved to Northdale.
With more people, Recreation Program Supervisor Adrienne Rouse said that they needed more space and asked for a full length gym.
“With the budget cuts it was decided that we didn’t want so many facilities operating with skeleton crews,” Rouse said. “If we were going to have more people, we needed more space. We were at full capacity and, now that we have more space, we can accommodate more people,’’ she said.