When the first homes were built in Summerfield just east of U.S. 301 on Big Bend Road in Riverview, many wondered who would ever choose to live in a development so far out of town.
It was definitely cattle country.
In the mid-1980s, the first residents had to shop in Riverview, Apollo Beach or Sun City Center, each between 10 and 12 miles away. There was no local grocery store, pharmacy or any kind of plaza surrounding the new development then.
But gradually, the goats disappeared from the northwest corner of the U.S. 301-Big Bend Road intersection, and a Hess gas station was built in their place. A Publix came to the northeast corner, followed by several other businesses.
But cattle and horses still circled the new homes.
Then, between 1999 and 2009, the Big Bend Road and U.S. 301 intersection became one of the county’s three busiest intersections, according to the traffic division of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in 2007.
A second school was built within the Summerfield Community. A clubhouse expansion and renovation was done. The South Fork development was built directly to the south of the community, and Panther Trace directly to its north border.
People learned that this was the growing area of Riverview and a whole new community, now called Big Bend, was born.
Now, in 2013, with more than 3,500 residences and approximately 7,000 residents, the seven-person Summerfield Master Association Board of Directors has another clubhouse renovation in place set to begin the end of August and last approximately three months.
This renovation won’t include anything outside the main clubhouse, although a plan to add a wing to it is in the not-too-far distant future, said board President Bob Abruzzese.
This renovation is all inside, doubling the size of the fitness area and adding more exercise equipment.
Abi James, who was assistant association manager, is now interim manager, and who Abruzzese says he hopes will soon hold the title of Community Manager, showed off the plans in a recent interview.
“The dues to residents won’t go up,” James said. “The money for this has been in reserve funds a long time.”
That’s how this board operates, Abruzzese said.
“Absolutely everything, right down to the colors and every piece of furniture was put to a board vote,” he said.
The approximately $200,000 project will begin by breaking down the wall between two small exercise rooms, one for cardio and one for weight training, and making one large room which will then be a weight and exercise machine room.
What is now office space in the back on the front side of the clubhouse will become a new cardio room. “This will more than double the size of the fitness area,” James explained.
The back room where meetings are now held will also hold the office space. The large gymnasium will not change.
Euthenics, a planning and design firm based in Tampa, drew the plans, which include making what is now a small kitchen into a wireless Internet room and modernizing the entrance area and front office, James continued, pointing to the plans.
H.I.S. Design and Build — also based in Tampa — will do the contract and construction work.
“We are proud we are not going to have to raise HOA dues,” said Abruzzese. “This renovation is long overdue.”
Many people in the community use the weight and cardio rooms and, at peak hours, they are crowded.
“Hopefully we will be finished in November,” he added.
It may be four or five years before any outside renovations are done or the new wing is added, he said.
But the board is already planning for it so that it can handle payment the same way it is handling payment for this renovation: at the time it is done.