The Ellis-Methvin Park property was originally owned by the Ashley Arthur (A.A.) Ellis family since circa 1880. His grandson, Dr. Roy Ellis and wife Bonnie Methvin Ellis sold the 46+ acre parcel to the City in 2002 and also donated a generous sum toward the park development. The park is named in honor of Dr. Ellis and his wife.
With approximately half of the City recreation program participants living outside the City limits, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) agreed to fund nearly 50% of the land acquisition cost (a $575,000 grant).
In the years since, matching grant funding was acquired from the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP - $535,611), the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF - $200,000) as well as additional grant funding from the Hillsborough County BOCC ($700,000 for park development, $600,000 toward field construction and $650,000 toward field lighting). Construction was done in phases with the final phase completed in November, 2016. Overall, 34% ($3.26 million) of the park's $9.5 million cost was grant-funded.
A $40,000 contribution from the Plant City Optimist Club helped offset much of the cost of the centrally located playground. These grant funds helped leverage the City's contributions by increasing the amount of funds available for park development.
Sources: Focus Magazine, Plant City Photo Archives & History Center, Plant City: It's Origins and History by Quintilla Geer Bruton and D.E. Bailey; City of Plant City records.