Behind the scenes with President Bill Tinsley
Good news for the environment was brought to Bonnet Springs Park this month as Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference on-site to announce a major award to the City of Lakeland and co-applicant Bonnet Springs Park. The $42.9 Million grant received by the City of Lakeland with our public-private partnership will benefit low-to-moderate income communities in Northwest Lakeland as the grant writers reported. This funding will help break the damage cycle reducing future flood damage in the Bonnet Springs drainage basin ultimately removing debris and pollution that is currently entering the Hillsborough River watershed and, ultimately, Tampa Bay. The economic and environmental benefits from this project will validate the vision for both the City of Lakeland and Bonnet Springs Park leadership. A special thank you to Heide Waldron, Director of Development at the Park, for her work over the last year in assisting a very talented City Lakes Division team and Consultant AECOM, a Florida Environmental leader in algae removal. Several wonderful educational opportunities are ahead for the Park as we continue to advocate for our environmental future.
Building is booming for the Hollis Family Welcome Center, which can be seen from George Jenkins Boulevard as the building changes color with each layer of materials that make up exterior walls. A quick look from the bridge will also reveal the land-form of The Franklin Family Mountain as it settles against the second story of the building. The bones of the architectural design for BSP lie in the building shapes integrating into the landscape. A whisper of the final product begins to take shape as the large variety of trees are following the paths and irrigation on the mountain.
The central portion of the Park has been equally busy. Dixie Southern has completed the skeletons of the Explorations V Children’s Museum and the Park Café, with Tucker Paving continuing to build out the parking lots for both of the structures. The Clyne and the Franklin Mountains are starting to stand tall against both those buildings. Executive director of the children’s museum, Kerry Falwell and the Museum Board, are in the final stages of exhibit design as excitement builds for creating a space that will enrich children and families. Utilities are going into both spaces as all mechanical trades are preparing for early May’s internal framers’ work.
Walking north over the Clyne Family Mountain, one can see progress with miles of pathways connecting exciting new surprises for future visitors. A view to the north reveals the Nature Playground restrooms as they finalize the roof structure along the freshly paved north portion of the Lakeland Regional Health Circulator.
Perhaps the nicest surprise is the progress at the Event Center and Harrell Family Botanical Gardens. The beautiful wood structured roof system of the Event Center is in place, and all trades are on deck, roughing in the labyrinth of utilities hidden between the beautiful southern pine timbers. Walking south and down the Circulator, you do not have to go far to see footers in place for the GiveWell Community Foundation Nature Center, where the water story will be told in exciting exhibits and displays. Just a long shadow length away, the Blanton Family Nature Preserve is rising along the Lagoon. May promises exciting progress, as both buildings and plantings continue bringing to life the Sasaki and BSP teams’ vision for the Park. The journey continues, and we so very much appreciate you being part of it.
Volunteers at the Park
In April, we had the pleasure to share the Park with a few unique visitors. In addition to Governor DeSantis’s visit, the Park welcomed volunteers from United Way of Central Florida and CPS Investment Advisors. This group of volunteers picked up over 40 bags of trash around the Park on their annual Day of Caring event. Thank you to the UWCF crew for donating their time and efforts to helping make the Park and the environment cleaner.
Students at the Park
On April 9th, students from the University of Florida visited and toured several economic hotspots while on a tour of Lakeland, with Bonnet Springs Park their last stop of the day! These students visited as a part of a Keystone Florida program that bridges the gap between education and the industry. The students got to learn about agribusiness, entrepreneurship, and development in addition to other related industries. We wish these students and all students good luck with their studies as they navigate becoming future leaders.
A Special Guest Appearance
In April, PGTV visited the Park and featured our CEO, Josh Henderson, as he explains the wonderful plans of the Park as they take shape. Executive Director of Explorations V Children’s Museum, Kerry Falwell, also joined the PGTV clip to share her excitement and describe the different ways kids will be able to escape, engage, and explore more than ever before. Thank you to our friends at Polk County Government Florida for taking the time to visit Bonnet Springs Park!
2020 Annual Report
Interested to learn more about the behind-the-scenes work in 2020? We have compiled all of our construction updates, information about the Bonnet Springs Park team, community engagement, and much more from the last year! Take a look at our 2020 Annual Report to see what we’ve been up to.
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. We’re taking orders until September 30th. For a gift certificate, 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.