HORIZON WEST — The setting of Tibet-Butler Preserve befit the topic of Lakeside Village Park during an Aug. 5 community meeting involving Orange County staff and residents.
John Connell, Orange County Parks and Recreation program development supervisor, presented a plan for an area of about 10.9 acres extending northwest from the eastern tip of Reams Road to Lake Spar, about nine acres of which should be usable for the park, based on conservation area therein.
The plan is for an open area with amenities that might include a playground, picnic tables and exercise stations to be open dawn to dusk with neighboring families’ preferences in mind, Connell said.
“The survey is online; that’s something that gives us an indication of what people would like to see in the park,” he said. “We make a priority list of it. … For example, if a playground became the first priority, that’s what we would look for first. Generally speaking, our budget would allow us to build just about everything in terms of amenities we talk about at a neighborhood park.”
Those common amenities include those aforementioned and open recreation space, paved walking paths, a volleyball court and a write-in option. Those taking the survey at surveymonkey.com/r/LakesideParkAmenities or by contacting Parks and Recreation at (407) 836-6200 may elect as many of these options and type as much as they would like in a suggestions box. The survey also asks for the age range of children in the participant’s home and the participant’s age range.
Locals wondered whether basketball or tennis courts are possible, but Connell said it was unlikely. Neighborhood parks do not have an organized sports field, reservations, restrooms or lights for a walk-to park with limited parking around its edge, he said.
District 1 Orange County Commissioner S. Scott Boyd said the idea would be to avoid attractions for people outside the community and keep use within the neighborhood.
“In my experience, most uses of this park are nearby families who walk there with their kids, play awhile and then leave,” Connell said.
Citizens also presented concerns such as a lack of electricity hookup and children running into the streets, which could be addressed with low hedges along the park’s eastern border with Village Lake Road. Connell said the park would be internalized. Water access to Lake Spar was another citizen idea, which staff said they would consider.
County staff said about $500,000 had been earmarked in county budgets for this park, covering at least Phase 1 funding, and more could be allocated to the park later.
Construction would take six to nine months, with the whole process taking about a year, so the park could be open in August 2016, Connell said.
LOCAL RECREATION UPDATE
Boyd mentioned a few county projects in Horizon West in the realm of recreation, foremost of which was a sports complex on Tiny Road.
“We have $17.5 million that’s been set aside for trying to find matching funds to help support the sports complex,” he said. “I currently work with a number of developers, as well as the city of Winter Garden, who has expressed interest in possibly participating in getting a phase of the sports complex moving. I would love to see a groundbreaking of a Phase 1 happen before I leave office.”
A soccer field as part of a central, roughly 20-acre park on the Dorman Property next to the relief high school’s Ficquette Road football field is funded and on track for completion around June 2017, he said.
Lastly, Boyd said funding is set to make Reams Road four lanes the whole way around within a few years.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].