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Windermere Observer Wednesday, Jul. 17, 2019 1 month ago

Town Council takes steps toward new trail system

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Windermere leaders gave approval for a variance for a new sign, approved acquisition of railroad right-of-way and continued their cut-through traffic discussion July 9.
by: Hannah Swayze News Editor

Windermere Town Council members recently approved the acquisition of two pieces of railroad right-of-way land — a move that allows the town to build a new trail system. 

At the Windermere Town Council meeting Tuesday, July 9, leaders approved the procurement of railroad right-of-way on South Lake Butler Boulevard and Main Street that will complete section one of a project for a mini trail system throughout the town. 

The Main Street property was a donation from Linda Rubio.

Council Member Bob McKinley said the area, a common route for children to walk or ride their bikes to school, has been a disaster for many years because of flooding. Despite the efforts of the Department of Public Works to clean and clear the pedestrian walkway, McKinley said the tree coverage does now allow the area to dry. 

“I am sure that many kids wish this had happened years ago,” McKinley said. 

When finished, the trail will connect 12th Avenue to Windermere Road and span about three miles, connecting nearly the whole town.

SIGN APPROVED

Windermere Elementary School teachers attended the July 9 meeting to see the passing of a variance allowing Orange County Public Schools to install an LED sign at the school. 

The sign will be 94 inches tall and two-sided and replace the old school sign. 

Council Member Chris Sapp acknowledged residents’ concerns from letters regarding the brightness and color scheme of the sign but said the sign will be on only between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. 

According to town documents, the sign will use no animation, be equipped with light sensors to adjust to day and night settings and use unobtrusive text. It also will be controlled by software on the school’s campus, making the sign’s features easily adjusted to fit the needs of the community. 

CUT-THROUGH TRAFFIC

Council members continued the conversation on cut-through traffic from their workshop last month at the meeting, revisiting the town’s previous discussions regarding solutions from the Wade Trim engineering firm. 

With the majority of the town’s traffic issues stemming from traffic cutting through the town, council members have explored several options to ease the flow of traffic, getting vehicles in and out as quickly as possible. Recently, the discussion on how to achieve that goal has focused on which plan the town should use and whether road barriers on dirt roads are a feasible option.

Resident Brandi Haines expressed her desire to have solutions sooner rather than later, specifically for the residential roads. 

“As much as I understand we’ve done all of the studies and the traffic counts and it’s helping us with — for the lack of a better word — our ‘fight’ with Orange County to help get money to alleviate just the general cut-through, that’s not going to address what’s still happening on the sand streets, and those things are five and 10 years out,” Haines said. “(For) the sand streets and the dirt roads, we need a solution now. I want to know that we’re working toward implementing something.”

Windermere Town Council will meet for a workshop at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, at Town Hall.

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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