Circle C owner sells ranch for $2.7 million but her passion for teaching children sticking around

It’s hard to put a value on the happy faces of children, but put those children on horses, and you have what they built at Circle C Ranch Academy, South of Gandy, in Tampa. Sally Harris Williamson has owned it for more than 40 years. 

"What Circle C brought to the community was outdoor child care because everything we do is outdoors," says Williamson, 73, who grew up riding horses in this neighborhood near MacDill Air Force Base when Tampa was a smaller place.

Circle C sits on nearly 5 acres off Interbay Boulevard, in a part of Tampa where some say the growing rush to build new homes is causing traffic problems that are only getting worse. 

The Circle C has been a prime target to buy for many real estate developers. 

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"When it came time to sell Circle C, I probably had 20 different offers," says Williamson. 

She says she selected the one that she believes will be best for the community. It will be called Interbay Commons, a development group lead by David Scher, a well-known developer of commercial property in Tampa. Current plans show 30 town homes along with retail space on tree-lined streets. 

"Every tree he takes out he’s replacing it," says Williamson. "Maybe not as big, but just as many trees."

She says she sold the land for around $2.7 million and an assurance from Scher that her passion for teaching children will be part of the new development.

"It will have a child care center on the property that the community is thrilled about," she says. "It’s time for me to retire. It’s time for me to go play and enjoy what time I have left."

Williamson says child care, including pre-school and VPK, will continue through July 14, Circle C’s last day. She says the developer will take possession of the land August 1. 

To view plans for Interbay Commons, click here