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Windermere Observer Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019 1 month ago

Meeting scheduled for Summerlake Park, residents invited to share preferences, concerns

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A meeting organized by Orange County officials regarding a park in the Summerlake neighborhood will be held Thursday, Aug. 15, at Windermere High School.
by: Hannah Swayze News Editor

Orange County officials are asking for the Summerlake community residents to let their voices be heard. 

Orange County staff is inviting Summerlake and surrounding neighborhood residents to a discussion about amenities for the new Summerlake Park. 

The community meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Windermere High School Performing Arts Center, 5523 Winter Garden-Vineland Road, in Windermere. 

“We don’t have any plans whatsoever, so what we’re having here, coming up on Aug. 15, is a community meeting and it’s the kick off meeting,” said Regina Ramos, a project manager for  Orange County Parks and Recreation. “What we do is we present to the public what a neighborhood park is, and we ask them for the kinds of amenities (they prefer), (and) the concerns they have regarding the park.”

The park will be located on five acres of land set aside specifically for this purpose on the corner of Porter Road and Wood Sage Drive in Horizon West.  

As determined by the Horizon West planning process, the park will be constructed alongside an elementary school, which is scheduled to open in August 2020, according to Lauren Roth, senior manager for facilities communications at Orange County Public Schools. 

Currently, the county is working with a budget of $200,000 for the design of the park.

Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey and Parks and Recreation staff will be present to address the community and provide examples of other similar parks in the area and what options are for a park this size. 

So far in the Horizon West area, the county has been through the same process with Lakeside Village Neighborhood Park, Summerport Neighborhood Park and Independence Neighborhood Park. It is currently in the design phase of Taborfield Neighborhood Park.

Ramos said there will be a presentation, but they also are looking to hear from residents about their concerns and/or preferences. 

“The community meeting itself is for more detailed discussion to really hear the community and what they want,” Ramos said. 

For those who want to suggest park amenities and share their opinion, the Parks and Recreation staff will provide an online survey. 

“On the survey, specifically, we ask if they would like a playground and what type,” Ramos said. “Is it for 2- to 5-year-olds or 5 to 12? Would they like a dog park? Picnic pavilion? Community garden? Open fields? Paths and walkways like biking trails? Things of that sort.”

There also will be space for additional comments, where community members can ask questions, make additional comments or suggest amenities county staff didn’t mention but that they would like to see in their community park. The survey will be open for a month after the meeting.

“It’s to service the general needs and desire of the community in terms of wellness and health,” Ramos said. “I think parks play an important role in that.”

For more information about Summerlake Park, the county’s plans moving forward or to RSVP for the public input meeting, email [email protected].

Hannah Swayze is the News Editor at the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. She is former staff writer of the Johnson City Press in Johnson City, Tennessee. She is a graduate of East Tennessee State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in media...

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