Veteran's Resource Center
Since the inception of our "Master Plan" in 1834, when Hillsborough County was charted, the BOCC approved the current plan and the Veterans Memorial Park has become a beautiful tribute to the men and women of Hillsborough County who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The park is now laid out with a variety of Memorials honoring deceased veterans of wars since the Seminole Wars. Most of the Memorials are shown throughout this website and various patriotic events take place at these sites throughout the year.
The final phase of the Master Plan is to construct a new facility to support various veterans’ activities. The entire complex is estimated to cost between $6.0 and $8.0 million. See below for some renderings of the new 20,000 square foot complex.
Phase IThe first phase of the Veterans Resource Center at Veterans Memorial Park is planned to be approximately 8,000 Square-Feet of office space and Multi-Purpose area which will become the new home for the County’s Consumer & Veterans Services Department. Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2016 and be complete in the summer of 2017. The $1.8 million project is being funded by $300,000 in County Capital Improvement Program funds, and a $1.5 million grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
Administrative Support OfficesHillsborough County Consumer and Veterans Services Department will relocate to this facility to conduct normal business as well as provide supervision and management for the park facility and other agencies that will be determined on an as needed basis.
With more than 94,000 Veterans in this area, Hillsborough County has the second largest Veteran population in Florida. Hillsborough County Veterans Services assists an average of 28,000 clients each year through personal and telephone interviews, outreach, community presentations, in-home visits, and correspondence.
The new facility will provide administrative support to veterans and their families and act as a central location and out-reach for a wide range of professional agencies in the local area and act as a conduit to connect Veterans to useful resources. The office layout is designed to provide space to conduct personal and confidential interviews, counsel veterans and dependents regarding claims for disability with the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs, space for Veterans Service Organization VSO’s to conduct business for their organization, provide out-reach for veterans seeking education counseling or job interviews, assist in developing Board of Veterans Affairs appeals, filing claims for property tax exemptions for combat related injuries and professional advice and referral to other local, state, private or federal agencies.
In addition, Hillsborough County is now a part of the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor in their efforts to provide employment assistance for homeless veterans.
Multi-Purpose Honor Hall
The Honor Hall is designed to accommodate approximately 250 seated guests and will offer food warming/preparation and other kitchen facilities for banquets, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and similar parties or events.
The Multi-Purpose Honor Hall area of the facility will provide space for many group activities, including but not limited to the following:
- A family friendly space to see and hear human stories about veterans and their sacrifices.
- Provide meeting space for Veteran Service Organizations to hold meetings, conduct ceremonies and presentations, hold auctions, host banquets, conferences and training seminars, and other similar activities.
- Create hands-on exhibits and educational programs to inspire young people to respect, honor and recognize the rewards of military service.
- Partner with area educational institutions to support all aspects of military service programs and functions.
- Provide a past, present and future view of the military experience.
- Offer a central location for local veterans and other organizations to conduct business for the welfare of the community.
- Offer non-profit organizations an economical area to hold various functions for their membership and the community.
- Provide both private and public space to hold various meetings, such as, BOCC Public Hearings, regional/area lodge meetings, etc.
- Provide space for hosting wedding receptions, graduation celebrations, birthday/anniversary events, book clubs, etc.
Future plans, when funded, include a phased addition of 14,000 to 16,000 square feet for educational use and museum exhibits.
In a community with a rich and lengthy military history at its’ core, veterans advocates see the need for a facility to showcase local area military organizations and the people who protect our freedom. The future phases of the Veteran Resource Center will provide the local community and the regional area a place to learn about and to appreciate the military way of life and those who wear the uniform of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard so proudly.
The three Galleries that will make up the facility will emphasize the value of the military people we work with, live next to, go to church with and share our homes with. And, as a final salute to our military, a first rate museum to display military hardware, equipment and memorabilia from the past to the present.
In order to do this, here are the plans as they currently stand.
- Gallery A - The concept for this gallery will be based on the history of military organizations, veteran organizations, memorials and other sites that have a historical value to Hillsborough County. The theme will also enhance outside memorials at the park. To set the stage for this gallery, the entry to the facility will include a large inter-active map of Hillsborough County which identifies all of the military organizations, veteran memorials throughout the county and information relating to their respective histories and demographics.
- Gallery B - The concept for this gallery will be based on displays featuring educating the public on military and veteran issues.
- Gallery C - The concept for this gallery will feature military hardware and memorabilia from the five branches of the military with emphasis on war fighting equipment and gear starting with WWI up to the present.
After construction of Phase I of the Veteran Resource Center, additional budget initiatives by our local legislative delegation will continue to pursue additional budget initiatives.
Donations, grants and all other types of fundraising efforts are also under-way.
The Veterans Memorial Park and Museum, Inc., a non-profit 501C3 organization is leading the effort to raise private funds for the remainder of the project as well as seeking assistance from state and federal grant programs.
If you are interested in making a donation or helping to raise funds for this effort, you can get further information and guidance by clicking on this link