It seems that Winter Park is making a mistake and heading in the wrong direction… again.
Regarding the article, "Booby Trap haunts unsold land" in the Dec. 22 Observer, in the sale of its surplus property, it seems that Winter Park is making a mistake and heading in the wrong direction… again. When the swap of Progress Point property for the State Office Building property was brokered, its proponents swore up and down that the two properties were equally valuable and desirable. Now, years later, Progress Point is still vacant and unsold. And although one would have expected the highest and best use of the Morse Boulevard property, around the corner from Publix and fronting one of Winter Park's premier parks, to be the creation of a vibrant residential community to take advantage of its fabulous location, instead, we have an office building that is still partially vacant, and dark evenings and weekends creating a dead zone.
And now, Winter Park seems poised to make a mistake again. "Surplus" land isn't like surplus widgets; you can order more widgets if you run out. Creating land isn't as easy. Great care should be exercised before getting rid of land that could be even more valuable in the future.
As for the Booby Trap property, here's what I believe is a higher and better use than recouping a few dollars. The city should build a creatively designed mid-rise parking garage. Cities do this all the time; and they make money doing it. The management of the garage should be subcontracted out to a private entity that would realize a percentage of the income. The management, safety and maintenance of the garage would be the responsibility of this entity and provide motivation to keep it clean, safe and filled. Having a garage in that location would encourage business development in the area, as it would relieve businesses of some or even the entire onus of providing parking. And maybe people would stop complaining that Winter Park doesn't have enough parking.
Vicki Krueger, Winter Park