ZEPHYRHILLS — The Zephyrills City Council unanimously voted Monday to pursue negotiations with the Pasco County School Board to lease Hercules Park, located at the corner of State Road 54 and U.S. 301.
The school board wants to sell off at least two acres of the 15-acre property to a business.
The property is worth $505,000 as it is currently zoned, according to an appraisal. Zoning for the property would need to be changed to use it for a commercial venture.
School district officials have said that the remainder of the property could possibly be leased to the city for as long as 100 years for $1 a year after the 2-acre plot has been sold.
Councilman Alan Knight was a proponent of negotiating with the school board to sell the corner and gain control of the rest of the land, which also contains a defunct pool.
Knight said Monday that he has talked to the school board and he did not think they would accept less than $1 million to buy the property.
The property was turned over to Pasco County several years ago and the county built east Pasco County’s only public pool. The pool was slated to close in 2010 as a cost-saving measure until the nonprofit Zephyrhills Police Athletic League signed a contract to run it. The contract with ZPAL was terminated after the organization was financially unable to keep the pool open. Pasco County deeded the property back to the school board in early 2012.
In November, Ray Gadd, Pasco County assistant superintendent, approached the city council about the city’s interest in the pool.
“The school board recognizes that this particular park, that this site has some historical significance to the community,” Gadd said, “but the school board has to make some decisions about the property. It’s a liability for us; there’s a hole in the ground out there. We’ve got to make some decisions about whether to fill that.”
Council directed staff to contact the school board to begin negotiations.