October 2018 Newsletter

Building Sustainably at Bonnet Springs Park
At the core of Bonnet Springs Park’s mission is to create a resilient ecological gem for the Lakeland community. Beyond healing the polluted soils and waterways, the new park structures will support efficient and responsible park operations long into the future. The four major buildings in the park will operate as primary income generators and will likewise be the more significant consumers of energy. Rather than viewing the buildings as a negative drain to our environmental mission, we see the Welcome Center, Bridge Building, Event Center, and Nature Center as great contributors to the overall environmental footprint of the park. Each of these buildings are being designed with efficiency, flexibility, resilience and sustainability at the forefront, putting best sustainable design practices to work

Sustainability Framework
The buildings and site design are guided by a sustainability framework with seven key aspects: Energy, Water, Materials, Health and Wellness, Place, Equity, and Beauty.

Optimizing energy performance through passive and active means is an integral part of the buildings at Bonnet Springs. Deep overhangs, adjustable sun shades, efficient equipment, and high performance glass minimize energy loads. State of the art mechanical systems are specific to the needs of each building. If practical, renewable energy systems will be used on site.

The buildings limit water use in several ways. Low-flow fixtures are used in all bathrooms. Rainwater harvesting collects water in cisterns to be used for irrigation and other non-potable uses. Beautiful as well as sustainable, green roofs reduce rainwater runoff, and add insulating value to the buildings.

Bonnet Springs Park will promote the use of locally-sourced sustainable, rapidly renewable, responsibly harvested, and carbon neutral materials to promote healthy building environments. Materials are chosen based on lifecycle, carbon footprint, and recycled content. Waste and recycling management plans will be implemented during construction, and after the park opening.

Health and Wellness
Bonnet Springs Park seeks to create a healthy ecosystem and sustainable landscape while promoting active lifestyles and improving mental health. Whether the structures emerge from the landscape, or guide visitors into the wetlands to learn about existing ecosystems, the buildings create opportunities to experience nature in new and unexpected ways.

Place, Equity, and Beauty
Bonnet Springs Park aims to inspire and educate all its visitors by making nature, art, culture, and adventure accessible and welcoming to all regardless of age or ability. The park celebrates the site, its history, and the city of Lakeland. Amenities such as the Children’s Museum and Nature Center will be wonderful educational centers while the Welcome Center and Event Center will be hubs for cultural events and settings for celebrations and important milestones.

Park Update:

Sustainable design principles include the ability to:

  • optimize site potential;
  • minimize non-renewable energy consumption;
  • use environmentally preferable products;
  • protect and conserve water;
  • enhance indoor environmental quality; and
  • optimize operational and maintenance practices.

Sasaki and BSP implementation team brought together an incredible focus group to look at the SUSTAINABILITY of the park. Five specific topics were selected for the focus groups input as follows: 1. Place, equity, and beauty 2. Energy 3. Water 4. Health and Wellness 5. Materials.
The sessions included observations by some leading consultants on sustainability in the field, Jacob Knowles(BR+A) and Chris O’Hara (Studio NYL) providing state of the art solutions available in today’s market. Several local experts in the field of solar, building envelopes, building materials, and other specialties reacted during break-out sessions to applicability to this project and brought their own suggestions to light. The opportunity to incorporate sustainable principles into the design and framework of the park will pay dividends now and for future generations. The design team remains committed to evaluate all potential leads for creating the softest possible carbon footprint installing the park at the same time they are remediating the historical impacts that have been done to this ecosystem.

The aggressive project construction schedule, requiring remediation and earthwork as the first step, is still planned for the end of the year. Final hearings on Zoning and Land Use changes for the Park land will be heard by the City of Lakeland Commission at their November 5th. We have obtained a Gopher tortoise relocation permit in anticipation of the initiation of the remediation site work from the Florida Game and Fish Commission. Dale Dowling, consultant with DBA will be relocating our one turtle on the ridge in the next couple of weeks. Don’t worry, we have more, they just aren’t in the target zone. Speaking of permits, permitting agencies still involved at varying stages include SWFTMUD (wetlands mitigation), Army Core of Engineers (Bonnet Spring restoration corridor), FDOT (drainage, easements, traffic intersection) FDEP (arsenic remediation), (NPDES permit), FDEP (petroleum cleanup program), City of Lakeland (land alteration permit)(building permit)(Tree Permit)(Demo Permit). We have been in contact with the City Lake division and the final reports on Lake Bonnet are expected in the not too distant future. We anxiously await these finding and recommendations regarding our important western neighbor to the park.

We are pleased to share that our newest Board Member, Donna Henricks is off and running with our capital campaign development. Donna is assembling an incredibly talented team of volunteers and professionals dedicated to the success of the Park. Kim Elmhorst, David Bunch and myself continue to present at local organizations and groups as the momentum for the park continue to swell. We look forward in the near future to an announcement regarding our Friends of Bonnet Springs Park.


It was no surprise to the Windsong Board that Rodda Construction was one of the first community business leaders to step up for Bonnet Springs Park. Immediately following the “Big Reveal” for the dream of Bonnet Springs Park, Jason Rodda, President of Rodda Construction contacted the BSP management team to offer their assistance in making the dream of an Urban Park for downtown Lakeland a reality.

Founded in 1989 by his parents John and Becky Rodda, this family owned and operated company has grown to become a leader in the Central Florida construction business. Alongside John’s brother Jodie Rodda, the company has specialized in institutional construction and has taken the family’s love for sports and recreation to new levels by building some of Polk County’s finest parks and athletic facilities.

As a demonstration of the Rodda commitment, they will have contributed over $100,000.00 in in-kind services to the implementation of Bonnet Springs Park. Jason, along with Jeff Sandman, have been engaged in every step of the design process as the park plans move forward, ensuring the best practices and most cost-efficient methods are being applied to the project. The time and resources of Rodda Construction have and will continue to ensure the construction of this privately funded public urban park that is going to change the lives of so many Lakeland people. We are pleased to recognize Jason Rodda, and Rodda Construction for their wonderful contribution to the success of Bonnet Springs Park.