Sunwest park

Pasco agrees to bond to move up improvements for Starkey Ranch and SunWest parks

NEW PORT RICHEY — Having recreational options available sooner rather than later means attracting new residents who want those amenities. And new residents bring the growth needed to help pay for such improvements.

That’s what Pasco County commissioners were thinking last week when they approved PNC Financial Services Group to administer an $8.2 million capital improvement bond, which will be used to complete projects at two of the county’s large parks — Starkey Ranch District Park in Odessa and SunWest Park in Hudson.

"We can wait for 10 years for our county to afford it, or we can go and enjoy it now because of the way it can be financed,'' Commissioner Jack Mariano told the Tampa Bay Times.

Moving forward with the loan is an exciting development in beginning to close the gap between what Pasco needs in terms of recreational opportunities and what it can afford, said Keith Wiley, the county’s director of parks, recreation and natural resources. With the parks master plan showing a future need for more than $100 million in park improvements in coming years, being able to get some of those needs met quickly is encouraging.

“This is going to allow us to finish what we started and get these projects on the map for the community,” he said.

Part of that bond will pay to complete the original design of the Starkey Ranch facilities, located on a 150-acre parcel which has been a joint project of the county, the Pasco school district and the Starkey Ranch developer. Improvements will include six multi-purpose sports fields, a concession and restroom building and completion of the parking lot. Those projects will cost an estimated $5.2 million.

Racers leave the starting line Saturday at the Sqwish Sqwash Challenge at Starkey Ranch in Odessa. The race, which offered a 5-mile and 8-mile challenge, drew about 1,000 participants.

"It makes the surrounding property much more desirable for families,'' Mariano said. "It’s a big win for us.''

Currently. Starkey Ranch Park on Lake Blanche Drive includes a lighted Little League baseball and softball field, three multi-purpose fields for soccer, lacrosse and football, a concession stand with restrooms plus an additional restroom building, four picnic pavilions surrounding an events lawn, a playground, a maintenance building and a trailhead to the community’s 20-mile trail system.

Wiley said the need for new playing fields is pressing.

"We’re at capacity at almost all of our fields across the county and especially in West Pasco,'' he said.

Mariano said there is another benefit to completing park amenity plans at SunWest: the opportunity to offer a long-enough loop for major running events without the added cost or safety concerns when such activities are conducted on public roads.

Plans for improving SunWest include a multi-use trail, a concession, restroom and shower facility, two pavilions, paving the north parking lot, erecting an observation tower, installing an additional knee wall and parking staircase and purchasing cabana-style lounge chairs and umbrellas, according to county documents.

ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   TimesEmpty chairs at SunWest Park on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in Hudson, Fla.

The total cost to finish SunWest, a 70-acre park just off U.S. Highway 19 on an old lime rock mining site, is estimated at $2.67 million.

Mariano said lengthening the trail and connecting to the second lake at SunWest will give visitors plenty of recreational options and open up the park to fundraisers and runs not easily planned in other places. The second lake is also ideal for camping, he said.

Wiley said specific plans for the back portions of the park haven’t yet been settled. But opening that area of the passive park for public use and expanding the park and parking areas will make SunWest even more attractive to day visitors and organized events. "It is really going to allow us to showcase this area,'' Wiley said.

The bonds approved by the commission Tuesday will have a 10-year term and be paid back with revenue not derived from property taxes. That could include money collected from impact fees.

"The County is currently adding features to Starkey Ranch District Park and SunWest Park in a piecemeal fashion as money accumulated in the park impact fee fund becomes sufficient to make such capital improvements,'' wrote Robert Goehrig, county budget director, in his memo to commissioners.

"At the rate contributions are being made to this fund, we estimate it will be at least 10 years before there is enough money accumulated to complete these parks as originally designed,'' he wrote. "To relieve overcrowding, staff is recommending the County obtain a bank loan to enable the parks department to complete both parks immediately. The fund could then be used to pay the annual debt service on the loan.''

Goehrig noted that while park impact fees "will most likely be the first choice for loan repayment, other non-ad valorem revenues may be needed to supplement the park impact fee revenue depending on fund cash flow and state of the economy.''


SunWest Park

17362 Old Dixie Hwy, Hudson, FL 34667

(727) 569-6472

Spend an unforgettable day with your family at SunWest Park! Located next to a 70-acre, man-made lake, this beautiful park is home to 20 white-sand volleyball courts, a cable wakeboarding park and an inflatable jungle gym. Ideal for birthday parties, picnics and day trips, SunWest Park has everything you need for perfect day with your family.      

Get Directions

Google Reviews

Google Review avatar
   a month ago

Came here for a birthday party for my nephew and had a great time. The water was clean and clear and the beach was so soft. For 5 dollars it's really nice. Not to mention the obstacle course! Staff was so nice, this is a really cool place.


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Sunwest Park


17362 Old Dixie Highway
Hudson, FL 34667
(813) 929-2760 - Administration Office

Hours of Operation

Park: 7 days a week sunrise to sunset.

Park Information

Sunwest Park is a recreational waterfront facility in northwest Pasco, just off of Hwy 19. The park has been developed around a former limestone mine, known locally as “SunWest Mines.” Gracing the shores of the 70 acre spring-fed lake you will find beautiful white sand that creates an unparalleled beach atmosphere.

With the gorgeous, natural setting, relaxing in the sun comes easy! For those who also want to participate in activities, The Lift Adventure Park offers a variety of amenities at Sunwest. From wake-boarding behind the cable system, to the Aqua Park and paddle boarding around the lake, The Lift provides fun on the water for the whole family. View The Lift Adventure Park website.

No pets or alcohol are allowed at the park. No grills are allowed at the park.


Daily passes can be purchased for $5.00 a day with debit/credit cards. NO CASH will be accepted.

Annual passes can be purchased online, $30.00 for Pasco County Residents and $50.00 for non residents, and valid for 1 year from the date of purchase. Online purchase of annual passes will be mailed within one business day of purchase.
View the online reservations webpage to purchase an annual pass.

Patrons that are planning to use the pass within one week of purchase should go to the following locations to purchase their pass in person or will be required to purchase daily parking passes until they receive their permanent pass in the mail.



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