WPV Concept A

West Park Village Plaza Renovations Recap

Now that our community is 30-plus years old, there are areas that are beginning to show their age. One of those areas is the West Park Village Plaza – what many consider to be the heart of Westchase.

During the April 6, 2022, Westchase CDD meeting, Supervisor Greg Chesney presented the idea to redesign and update the West Park Village Plaza area. Chesney observed it was popular with Westchase teens for dance photos, had not been renovated in more than two decades and was surrounded by commercial properties that represented some of the district’s highest taxpayers. The Board unanimously agreed to look into the project. Two years later, on April 15, 2024, demolition began on the existing plaza. The project will take between 90-120 days, barring unexpected weather delays.

Below are the highlights of the renovation (see concept art above):

  • removing the current fountain and replacing it with two jetted, arched foundations that will flank the Bell Tower, offering additional seating and opening up the courtyard space
  • replacing pavers, lighting, benches, trash receptacles
  • removing existing landscaping that has surpassed its lifespan and replacing with new landscaping
  • adding new ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps to the crosswalks.
  • refurbishing the existing Bell Tower and brick walls

For those who would like a recap on the entire project timeline, we offer that below:

At the September 2022 meeting, the CDD Board announced that a representative from VHB Architects would be attending the October CDD workshop to present their ideas for the redesign of the Plaza, and invited residents to attend the workshop.

At the October 18, 2022, CDD Workshop, Ivy Clinton of VHB Architects presented initial conceptual designs for the renovation. During the presentation, she went over the purpose of the renovations, gave a review of the existing conditions and limitations of the area, and finally proposed two conceptual designs to the Board. In her overview, Clinton identified a number of areas that would benefit from improvements and modernization. She noted that, like much of the community, the plaza has suffered pavement upheaval and is also home to many mature trees that have perhaps come to the end of their useful lifespan; the Bell Tower is in need of some maintenance; the brickwork is showing its age and requires repointing; there are significant drainage issues; the fountain needs extensive repair or replacement; and the entrance sign currently gets lost and should be bolder.

Aside from these necessary improvements, she recognized that several features such as the Bell Tower and curved brick walls are great assets and should not need too much work in order to give them a new lifespan. Clinton suggested that a key feature to consider would be the fountain, adding that the best option aesthetically and financially might be to replace it with a new, modern installation. New fountains can be expensive, and this would be a critical part of the Board’s decision-making. Recognizing the importance of the plaza as an iconic space within the community, Clinton wanted the design to keep that “wow factor.”

In addition to aesthetic improvements, the redesign would accommodate practical issues as well. Trees would be planted using a paver tray system, maximizing the space while allowing the trees to thrive. Improvements to security cameras, Wi-Fi and electronic outlets would also be considered during the planning process.

The aim of both concepts presented by Clinton was to open up the space and make the Bell Tower a stronger feature of the plaza. The Board strongly favored the first concept with its modern curved fountain allowing the Bell Tower to be the central focus. Pockets of secluded seating would be added in the green spaces bordering the plaza. The open space would allow for a broader range of activities to be hosted in the space, hopefully supported by local businesses.

At the Nov 1, 2022, CDD meeting Chairman Matt Lewis asked the WOW writer to once again remind readers to continue sending in their comments or questions regarding the West Park Village Plaza Renovation to the CDD office. A synopsis of the plans presented at the Oct. 18 CDD workshop, as well as a rendering of the conceptual design selected by the board, were shared in the December 2022 WOW, and also on the WOW website and social channels.

Clinton gathered input from the Board and returned to the December 2022 CDD meeting with a refined concept. Mature trees would be removed, and the remaining ones pushed to the edges along with a furnished zone, allowing for a more usable 40-foot by 70-foot space that could support community functions. Two types of fountains were presented: an arch feature or a traditional jet spray. She handed over the concept to the Board for a comment period of two weeks.

Clinton attended the December 20, 2022, CDD Workshop to present estimated costs for the proposed redesign of the West Park Village Plaza. After reviewing the proposed costs, the Board discussed whether they wanted to move forward with a $1 million project. Supervisor Brian Ross was reluctant to support the project at this amount and asked if residents in the village apartments even wanted the renovations. Supervisor Greg Chesney reminded him that the CDD Board was elected to make these decisions and questioned how much decay they should allow before the area is refreshed. Chairman Matt Lewis agreed that improvements had not been made to the plaza for a long time and he hoped that the refresh would attract people to the area. Office Manager Sonny Whyte reassured the Board that the new property manager was excited by the plans. Lewis requested the Board reflect on what numbers they would like to see so that they could continue the discussion at the next formal monthly meeting on Jan. 10, 2023, when a vote could be taken.

During the January 2023 meeting, the Board voted to move forward to the next phase of the renovation process. The following months involved finalizing the plans and laying the groundwork for the initial RFP process. The Board agreed to bid the project out piecemeal (site prep, landscaping, electrical, masonry and fountain), with Mays overseeing the project.

After multiple attempts, they failed to receive the requisite bids from contractors able to cover all the individual components. At the December 2023 CDD meeting, the Board voted to prepare an RFP for a General Contractor. On Feb. 20, 2024, the Board accepted the bid for $1,282,166.20 from MVH Construction, LLC to carry out the West Park Village Plaza renovation. At the March 2024 meeting, District Counsel Erin McCormick confirmed that she had received the final contract from MVH, which the Board ratified unanimously.

On April 11, 2024, MVH Construction put up perimeter fencing on the outside of the Plaza curb, which should be in place for roughly three weeks (weather will play a role in the timeline). This will result in the loss of 10-12 parking spaces on that inside curb. Demolition began on April 15. The contractor’s trailer is also parked to the south of the plaza near the palm trees that were recently salvaged from the construction site and replanted. Benches, trash cans and the original fountain have all been removed to be refurbished and reused in the community.

The rough timeline for the project is 90-120 days. We’ll work to provide updates as we are able.

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