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Greenbrook Adventure Park pavilion rebuild due in July

The Inter-District Authority is working on the design of the new pavilion after the previous one was destroyed by fireworks in July.

The Greenbrook Adventure Park pavilion was burned down over the Fourth of July 2023 and is expected to be rebuilt by July 2024.
The Greenbrook Adventure Park pavilion was burned down over the Fourth of July 2023 and is expected to be rebuilt by July 2024.
File photo
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Tom Merrell, the director of operations for the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority, has told Greenbrook residents that their new pavilion in the Greenbrook Adventure Park could be complete as early as July.

The former pavilion burned due to fireworks early on July 5 and the remaining structure was demolished Oct. 1.

Merrell said a group of teens were shooting fireworks late the night of July 4 and into the next morning. After they were done, they cleaned the area and threw the used fireworks into the garbage can. 

“They did what every parent asks them to do, clean up after yourself,” Merrell said. “However, they just didn’t understand there was a possibility with the fireworks that had been spent that they could still catch fire. About an hour later it caught flame.”

East Manatee Fire Rescue, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the state Fire Marshal’s office conducted an investigation with the Fire Marshal's Office determining there was no criminal intent, and that the fire was an accident. As a result, no charges are being filed, and the IDA will not file any civil litigation, Merrell said. 

With the demolition complete, the area’s power has been restored, but there are internet service signal issues. 

The IDA is working with the architecture firm WBRC Inc. on the design of the new pavilion. 

The demolition of the Greenbrook Adventure Park pavilion is complete. Now, the Inter-District Authority is designing the new pavilion.
Photo by Liz Ramos

Merrell said residents were happy with the design of the previous pavilion, so the only improvements made will be the inclusion of a fire retardant system and a storage room to keep supplies separated from the electrical room. The pavilion will be built up to current standards and codes. 

“We’ve learned from events that have happened,” Merrell said. “We are actually looking at doing the same thing for our Summerfield Park.”

The construction of the new pavilion, which Merrell estimated will cost between $100,000 and $150,000, must undergo a request for proposal process. He said the process could take three to six months, so a construction manager could be selected as early as February. 

In the meantime, Merrell said residents have requested a cleaning of the grounds inside the fenced off area of the pavilion to make it look “less of an eyesore.”

“Even though the demo was done, we still have the surrounding areas where there’s landscape that was basically burned,” he said. “The grassy areas that were encompassed in that fenced area are getting kind of overgrown. So it’s a little unsightly.”

Merrell said when construction begins, Greenbrook Adventure Park will continue to be open so residents can continue to access the fitness equipment, community garden, paw park, play fields, playgrounds and hockey rink. 

Merrell looks forward to the pavilion’s completion. 

“It’s a heavily used park, and residents miss it,” he said. “We’ve received a lot of calls asking when it will be back. There are a lot of birthday parties, other events and scheduled exercise groups that occur there at the pavilion, so it’s going to be well received.”

Chris McComas with Lakewood Ranch Community Activities said the organization has had to relocate some of its programming from Greenbrook Adventure Park due to the lack of the pavilion. 

Its weekly Bingo has been relocated to Summerfield Community Park, while its gardening classes have been moved to James L. Patton Community Park.

He said participation in Bingo has remained steady as Summerfield Community Park is in a central location of Lakewood Ranch, but there has been a decrease in participation in the gardening classes. 

McComas said the gardening classes had better attendance at Greenbrook Adventure Park because they could use the community garden. With the class at James L. Patton Park, the gardening class only is informative rather than interactive with the community garden. 

Arbor Grande’s Elizabeth Henderson, the founder of the Lakewood Ranch Little Free Library Club, can’t wait to be able to install a new little library at Greenbrook Adventure Park. The little library was installed in April and was destroyed in the fire. It was the club’s first library to be installed in Lakewood Ranch. 

Henderson said the destruction of the little free library was shocking and devastating to the club’s members, especially for Country Club East’s Arielle Monserez, who sponsored the library in honor of her mother, Irene Farese. Monserez filled the library with some of Farese’s books. 

“It was just such a major loss, and it really shows how important the community is here in Lakewood Ranch and how integral it is to our day-to-day life,” Henderson said of the pavilion and the community park. 

Henderson and the club continue to build and install little libraries at various Lakewood Ranch-area parks with the latest being installed Oct. 28 at James L. Patton Park.

This article has been updated.



Liz Ramos

Liz Ramos covers education and community for East County. Before moving to Florida, Liz was an education reporter for the Lynchburg News & Advance in Virginia for two years after graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism.

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