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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, May 3, 2017 3 years ago

Winter Park residents shape Martin Luther King Jr. Park

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A May 2 meeting at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center gave residents a chance to express what they would like to see in Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

Winter Park residents’ vision for Martin Luther King Jr. Park is beginning to take shape.
A May 2 meeting at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center gave residents a chance to express what they would like to see in the park that sits along Denning Drive and Morse Boulevard for the next 10 to 15 years.
It was the second meeting held by GAI Consultants Inc. to help the city devise a new master plan for the park’s future.
“Tonight is all about you all giving us your input,” Kristin Caborn, of GAI Consultants, said. “We don’t have a vision. We’re looking for you to help us create that vision as we move forward.”
Residents first were given a chance to name features they would like to see and features they’d like to avoid. A poster covered in photographs showed different ideas for outdoor activities, decorative features and gathering spaces.
From there, it was up to the residents, who were given green (for yes) and red (for no) stickers to place on the photos.
Some of the more popular photos among the residents showed different kinds of walkways and paths. Basketball courts and a community garden also were covered in green stickers.
Red stickers mostly went toward the dog park options, a reflection of the residents’ desire to keep the park dog-free. Not far behind were any large concrete or metal features such as large sculptures, panels or racquetball courts.
The second half of the meeting allowed three groups of residents to illustrate their vision on a map.
All three suggested placing a memorial of Martin Luther King Jr. in the northeast corner of the park, while two of the three groups suggested building a new softball field on the existing bowling alley property nearby to make more space.
Other suggestions included adding in a meadow/event space; creating a drop-off loop area for cars; installing a running water connection between the lake and the sinkhole at the south end of the park; establishing an island at the middle of the lake that would be connected with walkways;, and renaming a piece of Comstock Avenue nearby after Gus Henderson, the editor for a newspaper called The Advocate in the West Side of Winter Park during the 1800s.
“We’re talking about an island connected with a walkway,” Winter Park resident Stephen Pategas said. “The walkway would include a nature interpretive walkway and a history interpretive walkway.”
Another meeting will be held on a date to be determined.

Tim Freed was the managing editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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