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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 1 year ago

Dedication for Lake Minnehaha observation deck set for Saturday

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The new deck will allow residents to enjoy the lake scenery more than before.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

Just off of East Horatio Avenue in Maitland, Lake Minnehaha sits in its natural state.

It’s a beautiful spot alongside Minnehaha Park for residents and visitors who enjoy taking in the serenity of the lake. It allows visitors to take some time out of their busy day to relax or enjoy a nice picnic with family. 

For those who enjoy the lake and its park, there’s a new added feature to help boost their experience in the form of the new observation deck that was built this year along the shoreline of Lake Minnehaha.

The new deck, which is being dedicated this Saturday, measures 18 feet wide and 12 feet long. It will allow visitors to Lake Minnehaha a clear view of the 90-plus-acre body of water.

Placing an observation deck out by the lake is the brainchild of former Maitland Mayor Howard Schieferdecker, who was inspired by the view from his home on the lake.

“I walk down the stairs every morning, and I see this beautiful lake, and I’m very fortunate and blessed to do that and most of the residents in the city of Maitland don’t have that opportunity,” Schieferdecker said. “I just felt the motivation to try and complete the park and have that view so the residents that didn’t have the opportunity could to that, and be able to walk out and sit on the benches and really enjoy the peace and the beauty of the lake.”

The deck has been a long time in the making for Schieferdecker, who originally started working on the concept in 2010. Along with a desire to give locals a better view, he also noticed built-up vegetation was blocking a portion of the lake.

Unfortunately for Schieferdecker, Maitland still was trying to recover from the Great Recession in 2008, so his project was put on hold.

In 2011, Schieferdecker was successfully voted as mayor, but even then, he knew that with the economy still recovering, he could not swing the idea without backlash.

After retiring from local government four years later, and with a more stable economy, Schieferdecker decided it was time to bring forward his idea for the lake — though the first plan for Schieferdecker wasn’t well received.

“My original thought was we wanted to put a dock out there so people could bring their boats to the park, but the citizens in the area were opposed to the dock,” Schieferdecker said. “So what happened was, at one of the Planning & Zoning meetings, a couple of people suggested, ‘Don’t do a dock; do a deck.’”

Schieferdecker went through the process of getting the deck through city approval. He met with the Lakes Advisory Board, P&Z, and then finally the City Council.

A part of the agreement was that the Schieferdecker family would pay $12,000 of the deck’s $18,000 price tag, with the city taking care of the remaining $6,000 and the cost of clearing out the land.

“This deck belongs to the city,” Schieferdecker said. “It doesn’t belong to me. I just donated the funds to build a majority of the deck — but it is not my deck.”

 

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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