At the park dedication, Bo Rooks, Withlacoochee River Basin Board member, talked of how the partnership between the District and the civic association benefits everyone.
Citrus County residents have a new park to visit thanks to a partnership between the District and the Withlapopka Civic Association.
The Withlapopka Community Park, which is located within the District’s Flying Eagle Preserve in Floral City, was dedicated in April. During the dedication, Bo Rooks, a member of the District’s Withlacoochee River Basin Board, said the park is a great example of the possibilities for cooperation between government agencies and the public.
“By providing an opportunity for today’s youth and tomorrow’s leaders to experience the outdoors, and specifically conservation lands, it is hoped they will come to realize the significant contribution these lands contribute to the overall quality of life,” said Rooks. “The appreciation garnered from utilizing this facility and others like it will help them ensure the future preservation of all conservation lands.”
The partnership between the District and the civic association began in 2005 when the civic association proposed it work together with the District to build a park on approximately 50 acres that had been used as a disposal site for material dredged from Citrus County canals. The association agreed to a long-term commitment with the District and, after a few delays, the work began.
“The project really took off when Kim became involved with the project,” said Ray Dunlap, a Withlapopka Civic Association trustee. Kim DeVary is the District’s land use specialist who oversaw the project.
“She asked us when our next workday was going to be and arrived that day with a lot of useful equipment.”
Approximately 60 members of the Withlapopka Civic Association spent countless hours raising money and constructing the park amenities. The civic association will also help the District maintain the park.
“We had a lot of community involvement to make this happen,” said Dunlap. “Volunteers as young as Cub Scouts to residents well into their eighties came out and helped.”
The Withlapopka Community Park is located at 10357 East Gobbler Drive in Floral City. The park amenities include a parking area, restrooms, picnic tables, barbeque grills, a baseball field, a driving range, horseshoe pits, tetherball, a swing set and a hiking trail with rest station benches.
Dunlap says the park has seen quite a lot of visitors since the dedication.
“Over the course of 11 days we had 195 people sign the guest book,” said Dunlap. “Typically only one in four people who use a recreation area actually sign in, so that means a lot more people may be enjoying it.”
For more information about recreation opportunities on District lands, please visit the District’s web site at WaterMatters.org/recreation.