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West Orange Times & Observer Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 2 weeks ago

Healthy West Orange to explore Creative Aging Campus project

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If approved, the project would be located on 30 acres along the West Orange Trail, between East Plant Street and East Division Street.
by: Jim Carchidi Associate Editor

The Winter Garden City Commission, during its Nov. 11 meeting, agreed to allow Healthy West Orange to conduct due diligence for a new project geared toward improving the quality of life for aging residents.

Healthy West Orange recently received a $17 million grant from the West Orange Healthcare District to explore the construction of a Creative Aging Campus to serve West Orange County. The proposed location of the campus is on about 30 acres along the West Orange Trail, between East Plant Street and East Division Street. According to the agreement, Healthy West Orange will conduct 12 months of due diligence while keeping city leaders up-to-date on its findings and project feasibility.

The Creative Aging Campus plan would include a clubhouse, fitness center, aquatics center, adult stay care facilities and other amenities. It also would provide a schedule of enrichment programs and educational offerings. 

“It could be anything that allows them to follow their passion,” Economic Development Director Tanja Gerhartz said. “I know they want to talk to SoBo (Art Gallery) and the arts association and the Garden Theater for their programming.”

The agreement comes with the understanding that further meetings and community involvement would be essential if the project earns approval. 

“There would have to be community meetings, master planning,” Gerhartz said. “A lot of things would have to occur. But right now, this is just for permission for them to do their due diligence.”

“I certainly have no problem approving the request to look into the project,” Winter Garden Mayor John Rees said. “Obviously, we don’t know enough yet and there is going to be a lot of time and expense on their part.”

BOLLHOEFER ATTENDS FINAL COMMISSION MEETING

After 25 years as Winter Garden City Manager, Mike Bollhoefer attended his final City Commission meeting Nov. 11.

Some of Bollhoefer’s accomplishments include: the revitalization of the city’s downtown area; the construction of a City Hall, fire station and a community center. Community projects under his leadership included Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves, Advent Health Hospital and Campus, the Dillard Street redesign and Tucker Ranch.

During his final meeting, Bollhoefer endured some good-natured ribbing from those in attendance. 

“It’s hard to say all the great things there are about you,” City Attorney Kurt Ardaman said. “So I won’t say them.”

Bollhoefer and his wife will be moving to Frederick County, Virginia, where he has accepted the position of county administrator.

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Jim Carchidi is an associate editor for the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He has more than two decades of journalism experience in Central Florida, including positions at the Orlando Sentinel and the Orlando Business Journal. He holds a...

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