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Monday, Oct 20, 2014

Major makeover would breathe new life into St. Pete’s oldest rec center


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— One of the city’s oldest recreation centers is set for a $1.4 million makeover.

City officials plan to renovate the Lake Vista Recreation Center in South St. Petersburg, building a 4,000-square-foot addition and modernizing the aging building.

Plans include a multipurpose community room and kitchen, demolition and replacement of the center’s entrance and lobby, new restrooms and replacement of windows, ceilings and lighting.

The community room will provide much needed meeting space that has been taken up by a licensed child care program. The design will be used to highlight nearby Lake Vista, with large windows and a raised concrete deck overlooking the lake, said Mike Jefferis, the city’s parks and recreation director

“Our goal is to have as much glass there as we can so it becomes premier public space for meetings and wedding parties,” he said. “We are frequently booked out, and we turn users away.”

The project also includes a new roof and fire sprinkler system, which is lacking in the center that was built in 1967. The remodeling of the building entrance is intended to give the structure a modern face-lift.

“It’s a dated, very industrial look,” Jefferis said. “We’re going to go in and soften it.”

The city plans to pay for the project with Penny for Pinellas money, a sales tax approved by voters to pay for large construction projects. Penny for Pinellas funds paid for renovations of other recreation centers, including Wildwood and Roberts.

“That’s a huge success story of Penny for Pinellas,” said City Council Vice Chairman Steve Kornell, whose district includes Lake Vista. “It’s nice that we have that funding source to keep our infrastructure looking nice.”

The center, at 1401 62nd Ave. S., has the city’s first outdoor fitness center, walking trails that link to the Pinellas Trail, tennis and basketball courts, a skate park and an indoor gymnasium. It hosts summer camps for children.

Council members are scheduled to vote July 10 to approve a contract for the work with Eveland Brothers, a Clearwater-based construction firm. Its estimate was roughly $236,000 lower than the next-lowest bid from Tagarelli Construction. If approved, work would begin at the end of summer camp and take about six months.

“This is an opportunity to breathe new life into the building,” Jefferis said.

codonnell@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-7654

Twitter: @codonnellTBO

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