Winter Park city commissioners voted Monday to buy a piece of land along Temple Trail for added trail connectivity near Howell Branch Preserve.
Winter Park has found the missing link.
City commissioners voted to purchase a parcel of land at their Monday, Feb. 11, meeting that will be converted into park space — giving the city a way to connect two major pieces of the Howell Branch Preserve.
Plans for the piece of property at 2917 Temple Trail, approved Monday with a unanimous vote, involve demolishing an existing 1,853-square-foot home to make way for the park space. The land would be rezoned as such, City Manager Randy Knight said.
According to the meeting agenda, a creek bed currently flows through the property, and the piece of land could be used for possible trail connectivity within the Howell Branch Preserve.
“This property is kind of the missing link in our Howell Branch property we acquired with the help of the FDEP last year,” Knight said.
The land was listed for $335,000 and purchased by the city for $318,000 — paid for with park acquisition funds.
Canopy Budget Update
Knight also took an opportunity during the meeting to share an updated budget for the Winter Park Canopy project.
The total cost sits at $31.2 million, and will be paid for with $27.9 million in bond proceeds, a $2.5 million fundraising commitment from the library and $800,000 in interest earnings from the bond proceeds.
“Late last week and early this week, we’ve been meeting with the architects on the Canopy project, and I’m happy to report that we have a project that is in budget — a very good project that is in budget that meets all the requirements that the library wanted and the event staff wanted for this project,” Knight said.
The budget also listed various add alternates the city can seek through fundraising and grants, including a $1.5 million porte cochere, a $3 million rooftop venue on the events center, a $800,000 outdoor amphitheater and a $600,000 raked auditorium in the library.
Knight also went through several additional enhancement opportunities, including improvements to the architecture and finish ($2.9 million) and getting 60 additional parking spaces on top of the planned 220 spaces ($500,000).
“This $2.9 million are enhanced architectural features that — should the fundraising be successful or the grant writing that we’ve done be successful — we would want to add,” Knight said. “That would just take this from a great building to a building where you see some features and go, ‘Wow, that’s really impressive for a civic building.’”
The additional features ($5.9 million) and the additional enhancements ($3.4 million) add up to $9.3 million in added costs if they city were to pursue every feature available, coming out to a grand total of $40.5 million for the project.
Knight told the City Commission that it also still has access to an additional $2 million, because the original bond referendum passed by the voters in 2016 allowed for up to $30 million issued by the city.
Mayor Steve Leary said the city should first see how fundraising efforts progress before tapping into that $2 million for the additional features.
“We do have fundraising efforts underway — if we don’t have to issue that, it would be interesting to see where we end up,” Leary said. “If we need it, it’s there.”
Knight said he plans to come back to the City Commission with a plan to pay for as many of the additional features as possible and that he will potentially be getting word on several grant opportunities at some point in March.
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