By Rick Elmhorst Polk County
Found on baynews9.com. Click here to view.
LAKELAND, Fla. — Leaders of the privately funded $100 million Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland are kicking off a major fundraising campaign. They hope to raise $25 million from the public.
The park is now under construction on a former CSX rail yard off of Kathleen road just to the west of downtown. Its 180 acres will feature many amenities for visitors of all ages. They include a great lawn amphitheater, a children’s museum, botanical gardens, event spaces, a massive tree house for children and miles of walking and bicycle paths among other things.
“When this park is finished you could set this park in Chicago or you could set this park in Detroit or even in New York and it would improve those cities,” said park CEO Bill Tinsley. “That’s the kind of asset we are building here.”
The Barnett family, with ties to Publix, has donated most of the money to make the park possible but leaders are hoping for lots of donations from the public. There are naming rights available for lots of the park’s features.
The park will be finished even if all the public money isn’t raised right away according to Tinsley. “We will build the park. We’ll have to have a bridge loan if that happens to figure out the financing package. But our group is so committed we are going to make this happen.”
Leaders hope to open Bonnet Springs Park by the end of 2020 or the first part of 2021.