July 2019 Newsletter

July Park Update

july park update

Construction activity in the park and the excitement of working with such a great team as the silent phase of the capital campaign gains momentum, seems to be robbing us of the calendar.  Time is passing rapidly as we stay focused on opening the park in spring of 2021. 

Site remediation work continues to progress nicely, although the weather has played a significant role in creating challenges as 300,000+ cubic yards of dirt have been moved to land sculpt the site of the old rail yard. Imported fill is arriving daily to complete the rough grading of the majority of the site. Building permits have been submitted this week to C.O.L. for both the Welcome Center and the Maintenance Building. The final site work and utility packages have been in the hands of bidders over the last few weeks, as we prepare for the next big step.

On the design front, the remaining plans and specifications for Explorations V Children’s Museum and for the Bridge Building Café are nearing completion and documents should be available for permitting and bidding by August 15.

If you’ve been by Memorial Boulevard bridge, north of the park, you may have seen that 947 trees and shrubs have been removed. During the 1989 winter freeze, the former orange grove on this site was lost. With the site completely cleared of vegetation in the early 90’s, involuntary and invasive plants regrew on the site of The Jack and Tina Harrell Family Botanical Gardens.

Hopefully in addition to the newsletter, you are a frequent visitor to our updated web site and follow the progress as it is captured by drone footage and especially enjoy watching the North and South Hills begin to frame the area of the Great Lawn in the center of the park.

We are pleased to announce that two great local construction companies have partnered with Rodda Construction in turning this dream into reality. Register Construction, Inc. will bring the Welcome Center out of the ground, and Tomlinson Construction will partner on the all-important Maintenance Complex. When built, these facilities will house the majority of the park staff, allowing early and more timely hiring as we prepare the park to open.

Color and the New Children’s Museum at Bonnet Springs Park

Florida is bursting with color, lush green landscapes, multicolored birds and flowers, rich blue skies punctured with fluffy white clouds and deep peach sunsets. It’s no wonder that the Explorations V Children’s Museum takes its inspiration from the 5 senses: Sound, Taste, Smell, Touch and Sight! This is also why the design of the new location at Bonnet Springs Park celebrates the Floridian culture of bold and vibrant hues paired with calm and crisp whites. In the words of our landscape architect Anna Cawrse “The application of color should be about experimentation and the willingness to step outside the norm and throw a little “paint” on the world.” An invitation to children that this is a place for them!

Color is a critical component in understanding and interpreting the world around us, and the museum is designed inside and out to use color to create both intuitive wayfinding, color-coded program elements as well as joyful and energizing spaces.

east facade museum

Upon approaching the museum, its main facade will act as a blank canvas upon which super graphics and ever-changing colorful murals will beckon visitors with visual clues to the new programming themes and exhibitions inside the building. As you wind your way through, the Children’s Museum emerges from the lush green hills of the park. A mosaic of colorful plantings welcomes visitors as they walk up to the Children’s Museum: the bright blues, greens, yellows and reds appear to have fallen from the fanciful mural and paint a landscape in the entry plaza. The building’s tranquil white background is accentuated by pops of colored “eyelashes” that provide shading over the windows.

watermelon seeds

Pops of color are visible through the front doors, “Welcome!” shouts a bold mega graphic above the ticket counter. Inside, the museum uses bold hues to define path and destination. The design team calls this strategy “portal pop”, where thresholds between major spaces are marked by a color coded portals. The ticket counter is a bright chartreuse, the main stair and elevator are a vibrant coral, bathrooms are bluish teal, and each major exhibition space has a specified color. The portals help kids with wayfinding while the neutral floors allow for space to calm down outside of the exhibits. This color strategy is informed by research into designing for children with autism. “Good design for kids on the spectrum is good design for everyone” says the museum’s director Kerry Falwell.

west facade museum

Color is used at the children’s museum to evoke fun, create a sense of place, direct movement, and affect emotion. The use of color is not simply beautification or decoration, it evokes shared emotional expressions that reach deep down to our core. As designers of public space, we craft places for people, and this entire museum will be a canvas for others, and most importantly children, to show their true colors!

Bonnet Springs Park Receives Major Gift

harrell photo

We are excited to announce a legacy gift for the Bonnet Springs Park Capital Campaign from the Harrell family. This gift will be designated to The Jack & Tina Harrell Family Botanical Garden and The Jack & Tina Harrell Family Greenhouse.

The Harrell family have a long and impressive history of leadership and philanthropy in the Lakeland community. Their contribution extends beyond the Botanical Garden and Greenhouse, as Harrell’s, LLC, a nationwide company with a long-time headquarters here in Lakeland, has also committed to providing fertilizer and liquid-based plant nutritional products for twenty-five years to help maintain the 180 acres of grass, trees, and foliage within Bonnet Springs Park. 

“My family and I are honored to join the Barnett Family in support of this incredible park development that is going to bring such significant change to an entire section of the city,” stated Jack Harrell, Jr., CEO of Harrell’s.

“To see such a monumental endeavor like this park opening up in downtown Lakeland is incredibly exciting,” said Tina Harrell, President of Harrell Family Charities.  “The recreational and educational opportunities of this park seem boundless for families and people of all ages.  The Harrell family is blessed to be a part of this community and we are thankful for the opportunity to contribute to Bonnet Springs Park.”

“This is a generous gift for the park, and we are honored to have them as a partner,” said Bill Tinsley, CEO of Bonnet Springs Park.

Bonnet Springs Park Welcomes Director of Development

heide evans waldron 2019

Heide Evans Waldron joins the founding team of Bonnet Springs Park as Director of Development. A Lakeland native, Heide empowers our great initiative by sharing over 15 years of experience in nonprofit management and hospitality. Heide connects with and strengthens relationships through clear organizational strategy, project management, and community relations, as she has done with keen insight over a career spanning private and independent sectors. 

Heide is a graduate of the Crummer Business School at Rollins College with Certifications in Business Management, Executive Management, and Proposal Writing.

Prior to joining Bonnet Springs Park, Heide served as Executive Director for Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras, where she transformed an organization with a nearly sixty-three-year-old history into an international force for youth music education. 

She fostered an impact on thousands of families as Manager of Member Relations at Orlando Science Center. Heide kindles passion for nature and the arts while creating opportunities that will endure in guests’ memories forever.

Heide’s combined knowledge of non-profit leadership and guest engagement empowers her in generating substantial revenue growth, fundraising, event planning, marketing, public relations and customer service. In the immediate future, Heide plans to strengthen relationships with the community and encourage Central Florida’s residents to escape, engage, and explore at Bonnet Springs Park.

Join Friends of BSP 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. We hope you will join us and take an active role in supporting BSP. Your initial contribution will help establish the financial foundation of our Friends group and allow us to the support park projects and event programming for years to come.

A Founding Friends household membership is ONLY $30. It also makes a great gift!

friends of bsp logo

January 2021 Newsletter

January 4, 2021
January Park Update Behind the scenes with President Bill Tinsley As 2020 moves into our rearview mirror, it’s exciting to celebrate the progress the Bonnet Springs…

December 2020 Newsletter

December 3, 2020

November 2020 Newsletter

November 3, 2020

October 2020 Newsletter

October 2, 2020


Bonnet Springs Park is a privately developed public park that depends solely on public support. There are several ways that you can help make this dream for Lakeland’s future generations become reality.


There are many ways you can help in the enabling of this magnificent regional park, from one-time to reoccurring volunteer opportunities. Bonnet Springs Park is looking for volunteers, sponsors, patrons, and professional services to help in the design and implementation. 


Bonnet Springs Park is a privately developed public park that depends solely on public support. There are several ways that you can help make this dream for Lakeland’s future generations become reality.


There are many ways you can help in the enabling of this magnificent regional park, from one-time to reoccurring volunteer opportunities. Bonnet Springs Park is looking for volunteers, sponsors, patrons, and professional services to help in the design and implementation. 

Scroll to Top