Windermere gives updates on 14 projects

The Windermere Town Council hosted a meeting Tuesday, April 23, to hear updates on 14 projects.

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The Windermere Town Council hosted a meeting Tuesday, April 23, to hear updates on 14 projects.

Because Mayor Jim O’Brien was absent, Mayor Pro Tem Andy Williams filled in to kick off the meeting, while Town Manager Robert Smith led the presentation and gave the updates.


Smith said the Local Mitigation Strategy is one of the town’s biggest funding sources. 

Orange County LMS — which includes the county and other governmental jurisdictions — helps agencies plan and prepare for natural disasters. These projects are funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and require a 25% match. Town staff works with the county to get projects listed on its Customer Identification Program and try to get those into the funding categories. 

If a natural disaster occurs within Orange County and an emergency declaration has been issued, funds are allocated to the county as a whole based on need. Each natural disaster will have a different amount allocation attached to it. However, if one jurisdiction doesn’t fully allocate the money from FEMA, then other communities may apply for funding.

The town was successful in applying for the following projects: Third Avenue and Magnolia Street drainage improvements, Sixth Avenue and Butler Street drainage improvements, Ninth Avenue/Tenth Avenue and Oakdale Street drainage improvements, and West Second Avenue.

Some of the projects currently in the LMS are the Lake Down retaining wall improvements (estimated $1.3 million), the Fifth Avenue and Lake Street retaining wall improvements (estimated $657,000), and the Fourth Avenue and Magnolia Street drainage improvements (estimated $300,000).


The town was awarded a Hazard Mitigation Grant from the LMS system for Hurricane Irma. 

Because bids came in over the original budget, Smith said staff is working with the Florida Division of Emergency Management on a budget increase to cover the cost.

The project extends from Main Street to the cul-de-sac at the end of West Second Avenue. The project will include slightly widening the street, stormwater improvements and potable water upgrades.

The design is 100% complete, and the FDEM agreement has been executed. Phase 1 of the design has been funded, and the town currently is waiting on funds for Phase 2, which is construction. 

In 2019, the original estimate for the project was $2.5 million, meaning the town would have had to pay about $633,000. In 2024, the estimate for the project is about $4.68 million, meaning the town would have had to pay about $1.17 million.


Smith said the town is planning to put potable water systems within the  Bessie and Butler basin areas at the same time. The total estimated time for the Butler Basin project to be completed is 27 months, and an HMGP will cover a little more than $3 million. 


Phase 1 of the Ward Trail project extends from North Avenue to Park Avenue. The multi-modal pathway will meander within the railroad right of way the town acquired. Phase 1 also includes a prefabricated pedestrian bridge. Enhancements include new lighting, benches and landscaping.

The town has received the following financial commitments: Federal earmark, $760,000 non-matching; state appropriations, $1,000,000 non-matching; and American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The proposed cost for the project is about $2,002,828 for construction; with the construction, engineering and inspection being $120,170; and landscape, including a 20% contingency, coming in at $159,292.


The Town Council recently approved the design for the Windermere Road and Main Street roundabout.

There also are improvements proposed for the Chase Road and Main Street intersection. A roundabout, continuous turn lanes and stops signs are all in discussion. 

“Currently, there’s a four-way stop, which creates a lot of metering,” Smith said of the Windermere Road and Main Street roundabout. “In the best scenario, we would want the money for Sixth Avenue and Main Street to be funded first before we do improvements at Windermere Road and Main and also Chase and Main, but it didn’t work out that way through state appropriations. So, while we have the money, we might as well make these improvements while we can”

Smith said the town will be able to move forward once the budget is signed by the governor. 

As for the Sixth Avenue and Main Street roundabout improvements, there also are several concepts being discussed, including the widening and reducing of the area of the roundabout.


Currently, Orange County Utilities provides potable water to 41% of the parcels within the town. The remaining parcels are on individual private water wells. The master plan evaluates extending the system that OCU owns and operates to provide water to all parcels. 

The drivers for this project are safety, environmental protection and reliability.  Smith said the project will provide a monitored, safe drinking water supply and improve fire protection capabilities. 


Windermere was awarded $375,000 of state appropriations in 2023 to explore the implementation of a wastewater system throughout the town. At the April 9 Town Council meeting, the council awarded a contract to Kimley Horn and Associates to complete the pre-design study. The study should be completed in 18 months.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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