May Newsletter

Bonnet Springs Park will be the Jewel of Central Florida

Provided by Kathleen Munson, Steering Committee

…a place for our community to come together in a tranquil retreat. Made possible through a generous gift by the Barnett Family, Bonnet Springs Park is located on 180 acres within walking distance of downtown Lakeland. This privately funded, public urban park will be the new home of the Explorations V Children’s Museum, and will offer several cultural, recreational and educational opportunities for families and visitors to enjoy. 

The estimated cost of creating and maintaining this transformational park is $110 million, of which 70% has already been committed A capital campaign has been launched to raise the balance, under the leadership of campaign co-chairs Donna Henricks and Kathleen Munson. Jeff Cox and Anne Furr are serving as co-chairs of the major gifts phase of the campaign, and Linda Rice and Ellen Salm are co-chairing the campaign’s public phase. Many dedicated volunteers are lending their time and talent to each of these efforts to ensure the campaign’s success.

We invite you to visit our website at to learn more about how you can help support the campaign with several levels of giving opportunities.

We need you to join us on this journey to create Bonnet Springs Park, and make it possible for friends and families to create endless memories at the park for today and for generations to come.

Bonnet Springs Park: a place to Escape. Engage. Explore.

Future of Lakeland

Looking Ahead to Sustainability

Provided by Bill Tinsley, CEO

Q: What does it take to make a 160-acre park come to life?


Less than half, 71.5 acres, of Bonnet Springs Park will require irrigation to sustain the thousands of new plants and landscape zones. This is approximately 3,112,000 square feet of landscape with individual planting zones that require varying amounts of water targeted to establish and maintain everything from the Great Lawn to the Botanical Gardens.

Russ Prophit, Irrigation Manager with Floralawn, has been working with Sasaki on the design and details to ensure the ultimate delivery system for the Park’s water needs. This is being accomplished while designing for a sustainable environment. Water will be drawn by a pump station with filtration to supply 1,400 gallons per minute, operating up to 10 zones at one time. The source of the water, in leu of two 12-inch deep ground water wells, will be a lagoon feature that is fed by capture of rain water, Bonnet Springs Park seep spring, the on-site and off-site drainage that is currently going straight into Lake Bonny untreated. As a result of over 90 feet of elevation change, the system is designed at 110 psi to compensate for elevation. The much smaller recharge well will supply 700 gallons per minute if required to supplement the system.

Baseline Irrigation Control System is used for all functions of the system, including monitoring the required regulatory reporting. Twenty of the zones will include soil moisture sensors that in conjunction with the weather monitoring station will take the environmental fluctuations into account, providing the most efficient water use. Once soil water content meets the target levels, the zone is turned off and proceeds to the next. Each zone in the system is being evaluated based on the type of plant material, soils, and locations for the appropriate delivery system. Special zones will include tree rings, spray heads, rotors, and drip irrigation, ensuring the most effective delivery to the targeted root zones.

The efficiencies built in through the control modules will ensure that just the correct amount of water is delivered to individual zones. It also has full capabilities for monitoring and recording conditions, usage, and interruptions, ensuring low flow or breakage monitoring and reporting.

Although the length of the distribution system can be measured in miles, sustainability of this precious resource, water, is at the front of the design criteria.

Lighting Design

Provided by Tillett Lighting Design Associates

In our approach to the site lighting we were informed by the history of Lakeland, its current built context as well as the potential of Bonnet Springs to develop into habitat for protected or endangered species. To that end we have developed a lighting design that is ecologically sensitive and which limits lighting trespass in the night sky in addition to being practical, maintainable and energy efficient.

We applied the two overarching themes developed by Sasaki, Active and Contemplative, looking to find a balance between the two and then expanding our approach into a lighting framework with different lighting qualities applied to each consisting of four main gestures. “The Journey’, “The Discovery”, “The Arrival”, and “The Surprise”. 

The Journey encompasses the lighting needs of vehicular traffic, cyclists and runners, as well as pedestrians who might use the park at twilight and into the night. The lighting is downward and controlled to minimize up light and light spill. Discovery is defined as the primary circulator path and secondary pedestrian paths where park users navigate the variety of areas within the park. The lighting quality for this wayfinding is a soft glow that invites you and pulls your through to your destination. The local flora and fauna and will benefit by the delicate lighting approach on the pathways. The Arrival is understood as destination areas such as the Heritage Garden or the Botanical Garden, which are given their own unique architecturally sensitive lighting treatments. The Surprise includes lighting that is playful and will accent the more detailed features of the gardens and the surrounding landscape.  

Ring Road Park Drive
Central Lawn
Event Lawn

Become a Founding Friend of BSP!

The Friends of BSP membership is now open! You have asked how you can support Bonnet Springs Park and becoming a BSP Founding Friend is one of the ways you can help.

Click our logo below for more information and to join Friends of BSP.

Friends of Bonnet Springs

LALToday Park Series

LALToday recently completed a 5 part series on the Park. Check it out below!

Bonnet Springs Park | LALtoday

Bonnet Springs Park rendering by Sasaki Design Welcome Center rendering by Sasaki Design Picture this: It’s a Saturday morning. You’re kayaking in Lakeland with your friends on the glistening waters of Lake Bonnet, snapping photos of wildlife in …

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