Whispering Pines Park

Whispering Pines Park pool and tennis courts.

As much as Whispering Pines Park is associated with the city of Inverness, the 290-acre facility belongs to Florida’s Division of Forestry.

As part of the lease agreement with the state, Inverness is required to provide state park officials its 10-year management plan for the park. On Tuesday, during the city council’s regularly scheduled public meeting, City Manager Eric Williams will ask his council bosses to hire West Palm Beach WGI Inc. to create the park’s management plan that shows the park’s future for the next decade.

The popular park has walking and bike trails, Olympic size swimming pool, splash pad, tennis courts, disc golf, baseball fields and pavilions.

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The plan will cost the city $12,500.

The management plan will include information about the widening of State Road 44 adjacent to the park and its impact on Whispering Pines.

The plan will also consider the impact of a new park entrance, new signs and playground improvements, said Inverness Parks and Recreation director Woody Worley told the Chronicle.

“Anything that changes within the park requires us to include in the (plan),” he said.

The changes to the park may not happen, but considering it’s a 10-year span it’s best to include the information to the state in case the improvements are made, he said.

Also included in the report would be the impact on the park if the city makes ballfield, lighting, and community center improvements, he said.

The management plan would also review suggested prescribed burn requirements for the heavily wooded park, Worley said.

Williams told the Chronicle that the management plan is only the beginning.

“This starts a process that will come back to the council (with a focus on many potential projects),” he said. “This has lots of potential for initiating discussions (following the management plan).”

Fred Hiers is a reporter at the Citrus Chronicle. E-mail him at fred.hiers@chronicleonline.com