WINDERMERE – The Windermere Town Council has approved design plans for an ambitious capital improvement project regarding Windermere parks. The long-term plan, approved during the Sept. 19 meeting, aims to improve various parks within Windermere.
Innovations Design Group took on the design project back in January, working closely with the Parks and Recreation Department and the Tree Board to determine how to best enhance Windermere’s parks. The parks included in the improvement plan are Central Park, Fernwood Park, Lake Bessie Park, Lake Down Park, Palmer Park, Park Among the Lakes and the Windermere Recreation Center. According to the proposed designs, most of the parks would receive improved walking trails, fencing and Florida-friendly plants.
Additional improvements include exercise stations and a butterfly garden at Central Park; a boardwalk, volleyball courts and kayak launch at Fernwood Park; additional parking and a picnic pavilion at Lake Bessie Park; installing an ADA walkway and swing at Palmer Park; a new picnic pavilion at Park Among the Lakes; and a kayak launch and playground at Windermere Recreation Center.
Most of the council members voiced their enthusiasm about the proposed designs.
“Some of those trails are not marked so people don’t know they’re there,” said Councilman Bob McKinley. “We want to make them visible.”
Although there are no immediate plans to implement these designs, Mayor Gary Bruhn said that by approving the designs now, the town could easily begin to improve its parks in the coming years.
“We’re trying to get these parks cleared up so we can show them off,” said public works director Scott Brown.
Removing street signs
Having ordered new street signs for the town, council members discussed whether to leave the old, concrete signs in place or have them removed.
Although some residents had voiced that they wanted the old signs to remain untouched, council members expressed concerns that the signs didn’t meet Department of Transportation standards and may create additional costs for the town due to upkeep.
After discussions, the council voted to remove the concrete signs from main roads that have speeds higher than 15 mph. Signs on the inner streets will be left alone.
The signs that will be removed will be given over to the Public Works Department for preservation. The Historical Preservation Board has also expressed a desire to preserve several of the signs and possibly auction them off for a fundraiser.