WELLEN PARK — Wellen Park residents and officials along with North Port city leaders performed a groundbreaking ceremony for its new public safety complex at Wellen Park.
The $13 million police and fire substation will house city fire and police personnel.
“A lot of time and effort put into this,” North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said of the 24,000-square-foot dual purpose facility. “Happy to have a footprint here.”
It should open in the first half of 2022.
Wellen Park’s public safety complex, including fire station No. 86 and a police substation, adds another layer to the development, which at buildout is expected to top 20,000 homes and 50,000 residents, or about two-thirds of North Port’s current population.
Along with independent Wellen Park communities, Sarasota National and Grand Palm are sister developments in nearby Sarasota County. The Atlanta Braves’ CoolToday Park is also nestled inside the boundaries. A commercial project within the district, Downtown Wellen Park, should begin phased construction this spring.
Hundreds of acres had been cleared for the commercial project and the public safety center, as well as other housing in that corner of the development.
Downtown Wellen Park would include an assisted-living facility and rental apartments, among other things such as a man-made lake, recreation and shopping. A welcoming center opened there recently. Hospitality and national chains are likely to follow.
Wellen Park President Rick Severance likened Wednesday’s groundbreaking to a chamber of commerce event, “in Columbus, Ohio,” which drew laughs as Florida endures a cold spell.
Market studies of surrounding land, he said, showed nearby police and fire services would elevate Wellen Park’s profile.
It will reassure buyers and visitors.
“This new Public Safety Building will fulfill a critical need for the growing Wellen Park community,” Severance said in a following news release. “Our commitment to funding the construction of this new building now is to ensure fire, police and other emergency services are readily available for our current and future residents.”