GIBSONTON — It may not look like much now. But come this spring, the new Family Y at Big Bend Road will bustle with activity as the new facility ushers in its first spring sports programs in early March.
“Thanks to great weather, we’ve made a lot of progress on phase one,” said Cindy Sofarelli, senior group vice president for the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA. “And we’re looking forward to offering youth basketball and volleyball programs in the spring.”
Located next to Vance Vogel Park at 13010 Bullfrog Creek Road, off Big Bend Road between U.S. 301 and Interstate 75, the new Y will be constructed in three phases. The first will include five multipurpose athletic fields, a covered basketball court, playground, picnic pavilion, parking and a 1-mile fitness trail.
“All of the clearing, grading and paving are now complete along with the fitness trail, retention ponds and fencing around the entire property,” Sofarelli said. “The covered basketball court and picnic pavilion will be completed in early March so we can offer spring youth basketball and volleyball programs. We’ll also seed the five multipurpose fields in the spring so they’ll be ready for our summer day camp program.”
In August 2013, the Hillsborough County Commission agreed to lease the 36-acre property next to Vance Vogel Park to the YMCA and kicked in $2 million to construct a facility that will serve all South Shore residents.
Sofarelli said the YMCA is currently raising funds for the second phase of the project, which will include an aquatics center. The third phase, to be completed within five years, will consist of the main facility and additional parking. The total estimated cost is $8.5 million.
“It’s been exciting to watch it all take shape,” said Sofarelli, adding that the Y is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony in March or April.
This is the first new facility the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has constructed in 12 years, she noted.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without the support of the county commission and the community,” she said. “We’re creating a legacy in South Shore that will be enjoyed for years to come.”
For now, Sofarelli can be reached at the Campo Family YMCA in Valrico at (813) 684-1371. However, she’s looking forward to moving into an office at the Big Bend facility this spring.
“It will be great to have a home base and begin hiring people from the community to fill positions including counselors, life guards and sports officials,” she said.
Residents can follow the progress of the Family Y at Big Bend Road on its Facebook page, www.facebook .com/bigbendroady.