Commissioners voted unanimously to allow city staff to move forward with negotiations to purchase properties for the city’s Parks and Recreation program.
WINTER GARDEN — Winter Garden may be adding new parks in the coming years.
City leaders voted unanimously to move forward with negotiations to purchase properties for the city’s Parks and Recreation program during the April 12 city commission meeting.
“We’ve come across some great opportunities for the city for our parks and (recreation) program long-term,” City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said. “One of the properties is located between Newton Park and Bradford Park along Lake Apopka, and the other property is adjacent to the Church of Christ, which is on Daniels Road and Winter Garden Vineland Road.”
Bollhoefer said although the property near Lake Apopka is between two parks, the property is currently not a park. If the city moves forward with the purchase, the property would eventually be turned into one.
“We will be able to combine Bradford Park and Newton Park to have one long park along Lake Apopka,” Bollhoefer said. “It will be the only opportunity we have to expand those parks. If we miss it now, that opportunity is gone forever.”
The property near the Church of Christ would be used for soccer fields, which have been in high demand for years, Bollhoefer added.
“We have an unbelievable demand and need for soccer fields and we’ve had people ask for soccer fields for many years,” Bollhoefer said. “We’ve been looking at options for years. We’ve worked with the Church of Christ. It’s a great piece of land … it will be a great location for soccer fields.”
Both purchases are estimated to cost about $1.6 million, each. Funds for the property near Lake Apopka will be pulled from recreation-impact fees, and funds for the property near the Church of Christ will initially come from street-impact fees and be later reimbursed by recreation-impact fees, Bollhoefer explained.
“To pay for this (property near the Church of Christ), we wouldn’t have the impact fees from recreation as of now, but we would borrow the funds from our street impact fees — where we have sufficient funds — and then pay it back as recreation-impact fees come in,” Bollhoefer said.
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