Landscape Architecture, Site Planning, Low Impact Design, Construction Administration
First Place Distinction in Cultural / Sports / Recreation
Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
The Highland Recreation Complex is a renovation and addition to the existing aquatic, baseball, and tennis facility located on 33 acres in the heart of Largo, Florida. The complex includes a community park with a recreation and aquatic center, over a mile of walking and jogging trails, a 4 acre lake with a friendly dock, an outdoor gym, 4 lighted tennis courts, 2 lighted outdoor basketball courts, picnic shelters, playground areas, a multi-purpose play field, baseball fields and lots of shady benches for just relaxing. It is located on Highland Avenue where the onsite trails connect to a community wide multi-purpose trail system. The community trail was integrated through the site connecting the Recreation Complex walks and trails east of the complex and ultimately linking to the LEED Platinum Largo Community Center, which was completed in 2011.
The development of the site required very careful planning and design to minimize impacts to the last existing Long Leaf Pine Forest and extensive native and constructed wetlands. These provide habitat for a variety of wading and migrating birds including the Roseate Spoonbill, the Wood Stork, Cormorant, and the Little Blue Heron. Neighboring residents were concerned that the increased development and use of the site would have detrimental effects on the existing trees and subsequent bird population. Sustainable concepts included the creation of bio-swale storm water collection channels between parking islands, reducing the need for landscape irrigation usage. The design provided a methodology for creating a sustainable landscape that integrated storm water retention as a beautifying component that the birds would love!