HYDE PARK – Swann Pond, a mucky, algae-filled retention pond, is on the path to becoming an attractive park area with a fountain and other amenities.
The City of Tampa, along with community members and private donors, are moving forward toward creating the redesigned area this summer on Swann at Rome avenues, across from Hyde Park Village.
A recent Hyde Park Patrons Party helped raise funds for the plan, which includes benches, sidewalks and, ultimately, bike races.
“It is an eyesore now,” said Marylou Bailey, who co-chaired the Feb. 15 event with Pat Ashby. “But we plan to add aerators and fencing and widen the sidewalk.”
This was the third year for the party and featured a turn-of-century and Roaring ‘20s theme in keeping with the site, the Leiman House on Newport Avenue, built in 1914 and once owned by Henry Leiman, a manufacturer of cigar boxes. The Prairie-style home was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and is owned by Joe and Camille Collier.
Two hundred guests entered at the courtyard, where a band performed music suitable for dancing under the full moon. A silent auction display included gifts, wine and entertainment.
The adjacent pool area included a dessert room and a cigar roller while inside the house guests saw cigar boxes and other items provided by the Tampa Bay Center History.
Bailey declined to say how much money was raised by the three years of patrons parties.
In addition, part of the proceeds from this Saturday’s Historic Hyde Park Home Tour also will benefit the project, which has been estimated to cost about $750,000.
The city has agreed to match the money raised by the Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Association and Hyde Park Preservation, Inc., for the pond, which is owned by the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority. In March, a grant for about $250,000 from the F.E. Lykes Foundation was received by the project organizers.
James M. Chittenden, CEO/president of Triumph Business Communications, represents the Lykes Foundation.
He said in an email that the foundation is involved because it “is dedicated to the enhancement of our community environment and public spaces in Tampa. We have enhanced parks in the city and made them more beautiful for the enjoyment of the people of Tampa. We saw great potential with this space and what it could become.”