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West Orange Times & Observer Saturday, May 11, 2019 2 weeks ago

Orange County requests public feedback for Horizon West Regional Park

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Orange County Government officials are soliciting residents’ ideas and comments regarding its plan to develop a 215-acre park in Horizon West.
by: Gabby Baquero News Editor

Orange County leaders are looking for community input concerning their intention to build several amenities within the county’s future 215-acre Horizon West Regional Park.

The county is currently undergoing the 12-month process, which it started in March, to develop a master plan that will guide both the immediate and long-term phased development of the park. It held its first community meeting about the park May 1 at Bridgewater Middle School.

Matt Suedmeyer, manager of Orange County’s Parks and Recreations Division, informed the 150 to 200 attendees of the park’s history, detailed the required multi-step process to develop the master plan for the park’s eventual design, and shared that the county has been looking at similar-sized parks around the state and country for ideas.

Meeting attendees then were invited to share concerns and/or ask questions about the process. They also were encouraged participate in several stations set up to solicit ideas for park amenities, rate their preferences for which amenities should be prioritized and complete an online survey.

“I want to make sure that people are thinking big,” Orange County District 1 Commissioner Betsy VanderLey said. “I’m hoping they are thinking more regional, and more than just a pool, park and swimming pool. So make sure you let us know what you want and give us your input.” 

Several residents noted worries about parking, law enforcement regarding park hours and illicit activities, excessive noise and traffic.

“The concept is a great idea, but I think what they need to make sure they’re doing is addressing the key concerns that we have around traffic and safety,” Horizon West resident Jen Anderson said.

VanderLey agreed and said the county recognizes improvements to Tiny Road are necessary. However, she emphasized the project is still in its early planning stages.

County officials also said the planning team will be launching focus groups on topics such as adult sports, youth sports, seniors, bicyclists and pedestrians, sustainability, cultural/public art, HOAs and civic organizations. 

The next community meeting will be held Nov. 13, and a third community meeting presenting the final plans will take place Feb. 12, 2020. Prior to the second meeting, the county will publish a draft of the master plan for the community’s review.

Gabby is the news editor for the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer newspapers. Have a story tip? Contact her at (352) 448-5856 or at [email protected]....

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