Winter Garden commissioners honor Larry Cappleman for contributions to the city

Larry Cappleman, a Winter Garden native, was honored for his work on the community redevelopment agency.

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  • | 12:20 p.m. January 29, 2016
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Winter Garden commissioners honored a man who has made a difference in shaping the city to what it is today. 

Winter Garden Mayor John Rees read a proclamation at the Jan. 28 city commission meeting honoring Larry Cappleman, who played a key role in starting Winter Garden’s community redevelopment agency and has served as chairman of the CRA Advisory Board since it began in 1992. 

During Cappleman’s leadership, the CRA funded a variety of projects, including the Downtown Redevelopment and Streetscape project, which restored Winter Garden to what it is today. 

“It is my great pleasure and privilege as the Mayor of the City of Winter Garden to honor Mr. Larry Cappleman for his leadership on the community redevelopment agency and CRA Advisory Board and his commitment to Winter Garden’s revitalization, and I urge all citizens to join in paying tribute to him,” Rees read.

Several Winter Garden merchants, led by Wendy Byrd, presented Cappleman with a photo plaque, put together with the help of the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation and West Orange Photo.

“It’s really kind of moving,” Cappleman said as he looked at the photo. “It’s my granddad and great uncle who started a grocery store in 1912 at the corner of Plant and Boyd Street. I have a lot of respect for those two men and what they do.” 

Other merchants came in support of Cappleman. 

“I’d just like to say I was here in the early ’80s with Larry, when…we would get together as merchants, and it was pretty bleak downtown,” said Walter Toole of Toole’s Ace Hardware. “I think I was the only one open on Saturdays. Larry was one of the driving forces, and people really realize what Winter Garden has gone through, and I do, and I appreciate the people like Larry who helped make Winter Garden what it is.”

Commissioners approved three events: Evening at the Pops, 6:30-8:30 p.m. March 19; a new event — Winter Garden Celtic Fest at Crooked Can, March 17-19; and Relay for Life of Winter Garden, April 22. 

City Manager Mike Bollhoefer discussed allowing a community organization to host an event at Tanner auditorium, an event that would require no city staffing. The organization would rent Tanner auditorium and do all the work to make the event run smoothly. The event would be a trial run for the city to see how an event like this would work and get feedback from the community to see if the city should allow similar events in the future.

Commissioner Bobby Olszewski thanked the commissioners and city staff for their work on the Windermere-Roberson roundabout project. As a result of a meeting with the city, Orange County turned the project over to Winter Garden. Bollhoefer said he hopes to bring the written agreement back to the commissioners in 30 days. Once the agreement is signed, the design of the intersection can begin. Following that step would be the right-of-way acquisition and the construction of the road. Bollhoefer expects construction will take place during the summer of 2017, to minimize construction during the school year. 


Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected]


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