Behind the scenes with President Bill Tinsley
As the trees push off the last of their winter leaves and small buds pop out with new growth, it is hard not to claim spring as the best time of the year. The greenery and the flowers beginning to bloom set the quiet backdrop for the birds and animals that seem to be appearing more abundantly than in prior years, despite the continued construction activity. As we look at progress at BSP, we can finally see the intersection connecting Bonnet Springs Boulevard to George Jenkins Boulevard. New signal arms for the intersection are being installed, which will trigger the completion of this intersection over the next four weeks. Detail work and finishes are underway at the Hollis Family Welcome Center, Florida Children’s Museum, and The Depot.
The Nature Playground and Rodda Family Playground landscaping and equipment installation are underway in preparation for the poured-in-place playground surfacing material to follow. The contract landscaping installer, BrightView, is completing the final landscaping and can be found mitigating the plants lost to the stress of a hard freeze and construction. New to the BSP team this month is Floralawn Premier Lawn and Pest. This local expert landscape and irrigation team has made a significant contribution already in establishing and maintaining the plant material throughout the Park in this bridge period to opening.
Over the past few weeks at the GiveWell Community Foundation Nature Center, a concentrated effort is evident, as the sub-contractors have focused on the backdrop for the incoming nature exhibits. This classroom space, set along the edge of Blanton Family Lagoon, will allow park visitors the opportunity to experience the plant and animal stories of the BSP ecosystem. Exhibits that feature the plants, animals, fish, birds, water, and habitats are featured to help us better enjoy our experience in the Park. Exhibit design and construction has been underway for several months now, with the Creative Arts team working closely with park staff and volunteers on the most engaging ways to tell these stories. The artful way of sharing the importance of balance in the ecosystem will be a crowning jewel for the BSP story of sustainability when completed.
Graphics and displays that communicate the intricate balances of nature, where each plant and animal contribute to the system, will feature pollinators, birds, fish, and other plants and animals that play a part in this major restoration story. Work continues as we anticipate this change in season and how this influences the efforts of sharing Bonnet Springs Park with you. I am filled with excitement daily in anticipation of being able to watch the magic of families enjoying everything here. Stay tuned as we further prepare for opportunities to escape, engage, and explore.
Behind the Scenes with CEO Josh Henderson
Where is the feel-good news anymore? Turn on the TV or read a paper and all you will hear about or see is bad news. Too much of the news can really take someone from feeling great to having a sour mood in minutes and it’s not hard to see why.
Our tagline is Escape. Engage. Explore. and we will offer opportunities for each of those. Escape from the world’s news and day-to-day grind with a calming walk through one of our many scenic locations. Explore nature and its beauty in a butterfly garden or canoe ride. Engage with your friends and the community as you get some exercise, have some food and drinks, or experience the diverse programming we will offer. Feel-good news is being created at Bonnet Springs Park.
Regardless of where you stand on the socio-economic plane, political spectrum, or religious affiliation, Bonnet Springs Park will be the place that Central Florida can all use to unwind…all you have to do is Escape, Engage, and Explore.
Bonnet Springs Park Receives Major Family Gift From The Ruthvens 🌿
The Ruthvens are pleased to announce a gift of $1 Million to The Carol Jenkins Barnett Endowment, to fund The Ruthven Family Playground at Bonnet Springs Park. The Ruthvens are one of Central Florida’s oldest locally owned commercial real estate firms, specializing in developing and leasing warehouse and industrial properties in Lakeland since 1957.
“Joe P. Ruthven, was proud to be part of Lakeland and giving back to our community was always important to dad and his wife Judy,” said Greg Ruthven, Chairman and CEO of The Ruthvens. “We are thankful Lakeland has forward-thinking community leaders and volunteers like The Barnett Family, Bill Tinsley, David Bunch and Donna Henricks for bringing Bonnet Springs to life. I believe this will be one of the finest parks in Florida!”
The Ruthven Family Playground boasts two acres for children of all ages, levels, and abilities to play. The all-natural playground incorporates exploration and interactive play in a natural setting.
“On behalf of Bonnet Springs Park, we are proud to honor Joe P. and Judy Ruthvens’ legacy by accepting a gift on behalf of The Ruthvens that will support the Legacy of Carol Jenkins Barnett within the newly announced endowment in her name. The Board of Directors of Bonnet Springs Park is presenting a two-to-one match to gifts made to the endowment in honor of Carol Jenkins Barnett,” said CEO Josh Henderson.
Bonnet Springs Park aims to enrich the community by combining and promoting the use of nature, culture, recreation, and education. The Ruthven Family Playground will support the community by providing a natural space for all children to escape, engage, and explore.
Welcoming You To BSP In Style 🌿
Have you noticed the gorgeous Kincart and Jonsson Family Archway as you drive down George Jenkins Boulevard?! This archway will welcome you into the Park as you arrive at BSP. The structure was thoughtfully designed to represent the railyard that once made up this very property. We are so excited for you to take in its beauty, meaning, and size the first time you visit Bonnet Springs Park!
Two Year Anniversary of our Groundbreaking Ceremony 🌿
How has it already been two years since the Groundbreaking Ceremony of Bonnet Springs Park?! We knew that the Park was going to be a treasure for Central Florida from the beginning, but as we’ve progressed, it is truly more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. From the bottom of our hearts, we are so appreciative of the community for following along our journey. We promise it is going to be well worth the wait!
Honoring Carol Jenkins Barnett for Women’s History Month 🌿
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’d celebrated the life of one of the most profound members of our community, Carol Jenkins Barnett. Carol lived a full, beautiful life that impacted countless people, including us. Bonnet Springs Park was her final philanthropic gift and none of this would be a reality without her vision and desire to create a lasting legacy that will impact generations to come. An inspirational woman that led with compassion, benevolence, and wisdom, she will never be forgotten. Our community is forever changed because of her grace and generosity.
Community Survey 🌿
Bonnet Springs Park wants to hear from YOU! We are conducting a survey to learn more about the people of Polk County and surrounding areas. We want to know what you are interested in and most excited about once Bonnet Springs Park opens. Let us know via our community survey!
Leave Your Mark on the Park!
Looking to leave a lasting legacy at Bonnet Springs Park? We’ve got you covered! Visit our site to learn more about sponsoring engraved bricks. Purchases of bricks purchased after 9/30/21 cannot be guaranteed to be placed by the grand opening. For more information, contact Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give a Gift of Friendship!
As a Founding Friend, help us grow our membership! A Founding Friends annual household membership is ONLY $30.00. It also makes a great gift!
Give a Founding Friends membership as a birthday, graduation, or wedding gift! Be an advocate for the park and be sure to tell people everywhere that you go about the great work that is being done to bring this amazing resource to the community. There are still so many people who haven’t yet heard about Bonnet Springs. Be sure to tell your friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and fellow members at the organizations where you belong, such as PTA, sports teams, church groups, social and civic clubs to go to www.bonnetspringspark.com and become a Founding Friend!
Founding Friends is a unique group of individuals and families who have demonstrated their support of Bonnet Springs Park prior to the Grand Opening.