Behind the scenes with President Bill Tinsley
July was a month with steady progress on the buildings and the site. When our summer rains did begin, they created additional challenges for the team. Several miles of pathways have been installed, with irrigation, electrical, and planting following closely behind. Working between the weather events to meet the challenges created by the high volume of water on a site with significant elevation changes has slowed but not stopped progress. Construction on the Hollis Family Welcome Center has kept pace with the schedule. Now that the roof is dried in and the windows are installed, all trades have been able to continue to work. Sheetrock continues to bring a finished look to the spaces, such as the gift shop, restaurant, and Watson Clinic Gallery. The grand staircase connecting the two floors gives the space perspective and eases access to the second floor.
Moving north to the Florida Children’s Museum, each of the five exhibit spaces, offices, workrooms, and storerooms are identifiable as the interior framing continues. Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC trades are installing the ductwork and raceways that will be hidden within the walls. Next door, waterproofing the Café roof is a major focus. The significant challenge in the combined bridge-building is obtaining roofing materials. The nationwide shortage of roofing materials (and many other building materials) has presented quite the challenge for schedule and production. The view from Kathleen Road into the Park reveals the substantial change to the central areas of the Park. Hundreds of trees have been placed in the parking lots and along Bonnet Springs Boulevard. As this material is established, it is exciting to realize the growth potential and beauty that will change the landscape of one of Lakeland’s primary entries to the City.
All the way north, the paving of parking lots and planting of the perimeter landscape also start to show from Memorial Boulevard, the north boundary of the park. The anchor building on the north end, the Event Center, has been dried in, allowing tremendous progress on the framing and drywall that accents the beautiful glue-lam beam ceilings of the spaces. The glass installation around the building further compliments the architecture and enables the work to progress.July allowed the opening of the pond structures within Harrell Family Botanical Gardens that receive approximately 300 acres of off-site water as it travels to Lake Bonnet. For the past couple of weeks, the trash collection system has been able to capture the trash coming onto the site. The start-up had to wait on the hardening of the 28,000 native plugs planted in the ponds to further withdraw nutrients for the off-site water before it goes into the Blanton Family Lagoon to be re-drawn for irrigation. This truly sustainable model is forever going to change the environmental impacts and benefit future generations.
Corridor restoration on Bonnet Springs Valley has begun with several thousand native plants being used as part of the stabilization. Kiwanis Cares for Kids Treehouse elevated ramp and decking is in place to allow this exciting amenity to start construction soon. It has been an exciting and challenging time to build a Park. Thank you, our Friends of the Park, supporters, donors, suppliers, and contractors for keeping us moving.
Transforming an Abandoned Rail Yard Into An Ecological Jewel 🌿
Once a rail yard, Bonnet Springs Park provided a direct route for Florida’s phosphate and agricultural industries for several decades. After closing, the property perished for nearly forty years, until a group of community investors and developers united to repurpose the land. They knew they did not want the park to become another site for a warehouse. Instead, they wanted to provide our community with an urban oasis that everyone can enjoy. Check out our feature with The Lakelander to learn more about the history of our beautiful park!
BSP Board Members In the News 🌿
Congratulations to Don Selvage, Friends of Bonnet Springs Park Board Member, on winning the George W. Jenkins Outstanding United Way Volunteer Award. Wesley Barnett and Ashley Bell Barnett, Bonnet Springs Park Board and Friends of Bonnet Springs Park Board members, also won United Way of Central Florida’s 2021 Philanthropist of the Year Award! We are excited to have United Way of Central Florida as a partner on site through Family Fundamentals and their new space in Florida Children’s Museum!
BSP In the Community 🌿
Bonnet Springs Park had several pop-ups in the month of July. We had pop-ups at Orthopedic Physical Therapy Associates, LLC, The Poor Porker, and Charlie’s Mini Donuts and Coffee. We are so thankful for our community supporters!
Leave Your Mark on the Park!
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.
If you are looking to make a charitable annual gift to start off the new year, consider the variety of giving opportunities available at Bonnet Springs Park! Since we are a registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3), all gifts made to the Park are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Your support will enable us to enrich our community through nature, culture, recreation, and education while offering public spaces that serve the needs of many. Thank you for being a part of this journey!