April Newsletter

Separation Era Ends,
Era of Connecting Begins

Sitework preparation for construction of Bonnet Springs Park began on April 23, 2019! This follows over three years of organizing, cleaning, master planning, testing, and contamination remediation design. Fifteen monster machines are remediating over one hundred years of industrial soil contamination, while sculpting the open flat railyard into a beautiful rolling landscape, with two “mountains” almost forty feet tall. The current site work, ending this fall, will enable the construction of the Park buildings and features, scheduled to open December, 2020. In this world-class regional park, you will enjoy the incredible new Explorations V Children’s Museum, walking and biking trails, event venues, gardens, nature play areas, a tea house, a tree house, boat rentals, and much, much more. 

Now, about the separation era ……. For over a hundred years, there has been a mile-long separator between central and west Lakeland. That separator was the 170-acres of railyard and rail-owned property stretching from Memorial Blvd. to Main Street. That era is ending, transformed by a beautiful and connecting public park, with roads and trails tying east and west Lakeland communities together. Just one of the transformational aspects of Bonnet Springs Park. 

Another transformational project, owned by Bonnet Springs Park, Inc., but separated from the park, is the former Florida Tile site, at the corner of Sikes Blvd. and George Jenkins Blvd. This twenty-five acres overlooking Lake Wire is planned for an intense urban mixed use development including an office building, condominiums and apartments, a hotel and retail element. All proceeds from the sale of this Opportunity Zone property for development will accrue to Bonnet Springs Park. This, too, will turn attention to West Lakeland and provide a planned expansion of downtown Lakeland.

Carol and Barney Barnett and their family have enabled Bonnet Springs Park to happen through land purchase, master planning and remediation of contaminated soils. Beginning in early Fall 2019, the Polk County community will be asked to join a capital campaign effort to ensure the construction and maintenance of the Bonnet Springs Park. Please consider generous support of this life-changing community asset. Thank you in advance and soon, enjoy the park you will help build! 

A Look at the Construction

Tucker Paving, headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida, has begun the land sculpting of the former rail site as part of the first phase of construction. Mobilizing with major earth moving equipment armed with the latest GPS and laser equipment, this part of the project should take 4-6 weeks.

To ensure the site materials are not tracked from the project, a very sophisticated automatic tire wash station and stone drying bed have been installed to protect city streets (photo below).

The skilled operators of Tucker Paving are checked and verified via a rover system. With final grading plans that are the result of three years of planning and permitting, observers can verify and document the accuracy of the grade.

From this current shot (below) of the area cordoned off into 9 exposure units, we will see the North and South hills that surround the Great Lawn grow to heights as much as 45 ft.

Welcome to the team, Kellie!

Bonnet Springs Park is pleased to announce that Kellie Phillips has been selected as Administrative Assistant, the Park’s first employee. 

A Lakeland native, Kellie graduated from All Saints Academy, where she participated in Student Government Association, National Honor Society, swim and soccer teams, and many more. She moved to North Carolina to attend Elon University in Greensboro, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport and Event Management, with a double minor in Business and Administration. Kellie’s major and minor degrees have prepared her well for the myriad duties associated with establishing financial, management and operating procedures for Bonnet Springs Park. Kellie’s office is at 415 South Kentucky Avenue, in the Hauger-Bunch building. E-mail is Kellie@BonnetSpringsPark.com; telephone, 863-413-0652.

Kellie loves all things Lakeland and is excited to watch her hometown grow into a more perfect city, especially as it relates to the implementation of Bonnet Springs Park. 

Other park positions soon to be filled include Development Director and Executive Director, with full staffing occurring during 2020 as construction proceeds.