Behind the scenes with President Bill Tinsley
Our team is moving into December with increased anticipation of the many wonderful parts of the Park that are taking on their final shapes and forms. November brought us great weather that allowed significant progress on the green side of the Park. As we work toward the completion of the final trails and walkways, they have been chased by the planting of thousands of plants that enhance the already rich environment that remains following the mitigation of the site. Site lighting installations are underway that will give a more formal and vertical look to the miles of trails. Additional dredging of the Blanton Family Lagoon continues to stimulate the wildlife in the nature area as well as provide the water for establishing the new plants.
Work continues at the entrance to the Park with approximately eight weeks remaining until completion. We anticipate the final paving of all parking, asphalt paths, and roadways in February. The 168-acre park, with its miles of walkways and paths, is a myriad of different ecological zones that tell different Florida stories, but unite to tell the story of one of Central Florida’s most important historical locations.
Starting from the South, entering from George Jenkins Boulevard, visitors will first arrive at the Hollis Family Welcome Center. The unique architecture of this building is coming to life as finishes and amenities are coming online. One unique aspect of the Park architecture is the free form shapes and the land sculpting that often brings the outdoor view directly into the spaces. Finishes on the building are at 80% completion. As planter boxes and follies are installed in AgAmerica Heritage Gardens, the theme of the design becomes more evident. As we move north to Florida Children’s Museum, much of the progress is not evident from the outside.
The mechanical sub-contractors continue to install conduit and air conditioning ducts as we wait for the roofing materials to finalize the dry in of the roof. Next door, the Depot Café is in full swing with windows and internal framing complete. Final grading around the Nature Playground in preparation of the installation of the plants and playground equipment is underway. Light poles going up in the Harrell Family Botanical Gardens help define the walks and individual gardens.
The Event Center finishes are going on daily as new materials arrive. The exterior work is very visible from our northern boundary, Memorial Boulevard, as the Knot Wood panels are going on the roof. Traveling the circulator to the south will bring you to the Givewell Community Foundation Nature Center Classroom and Nature Exhibit. Final framing and mechanical work are progressing nicely both here and at the nearby Ann and Ward Edwards Boathouse.
Behind the scenes with CEO Josh Henderson
A healthy environment equals wildlife. BSP President Bill Tinsley has helped me understand many things about the development of Bonnet Springs Park since my transition to Florida and this amazing property last year. One of the things I found most fascinating was the fact that when the land was cleared for the lagoon and construction of the park there were no snakes and very few animals seen on the property. Think about it…a Florida wetland with no snakes.
Fast forward a few years, we have cleaned up the land, created a lagoon that captures rain and spring water which we use to irrigate. We have birds, fish, frogs, alligators, and yes likely even a few snakes on our property. The water looks amazing and the animals love it.
A once scarred ecosystem is now thriving due to the work that has been done at Bonnet Springs Park. There are many great stories yet to be written about what the Park will mean for Lakeland and the surrounding communities, but it will be hard to beat the one the environment is already telling us.
Giving Tuesday 🌿
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank everyone who supported us during Giving Tuesday. We are proud to say we raised $5,067.15! We appreciate every donation we received and all the kind words that were shared. Because of you, Bonnet Springs Park will be able to unify Lakeland’s diverse population, offering public spaces that serve the needs of many. Thank you for your endless support!
If you are looking to make a charitable annual gift, 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! For more information please contact Heide Evans, Director of Development at email@example.com.
National Philanthropy Day 🌿
If you are familiar with Central Florida, you know that our community is extremely blessed with many philanthropic companies and individuals. It is because of them that so many nonprofits in our area can thrive and provide critical services to our community members. On National Philanthropy Day, we celebrated the AFP Greater Polk County Chapter National Philanthropy Day 2021 Award Winners. You all truly make our community a better place!
Path Series 🌿
In the month of November, we showed you a few of the paths that will be in the Park such as the Playground Trail, Mountain Path North, and South Entry Path. We are getting so excited for you all to enjoy a walk on a crisp, cool fall morning!
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 and benches. Purchases of bricks and benches purchased after 9/30 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.