Three concepts revealed for mega park coming to Lakeland

Progress is being made on a multi-million dollar mega park being built near downtown Lakeland.

  • Three concepts revealed for Lakeland mega park
  • One option based on “ecological adventure”
  • Second based on “cultural waves”
  • Third based on “railway terraces”

The planners have spent the last couple of months soliciting feedback on what it should look like.

David Bunch is one of the people behind the development of Bonnet Springs Park. It’s going to be a 180-acre park with a lake, part of it a former rail yard and the rest a heavily wooded area that’s been largely left untouched.

“The amazing part of this property is it’s near a ten minute walk from downtown Lakeland. That’s just amazing,” said David Bunch.

Bunch and former Lakeland Parks and Recreation Director Bill Tinsley said they have big plans for the park. They’ve been getting feedback from the public and also brought in some professional help.

“We’ve hired one of the best design teams in the country in Sasaki,” said Bill Tinsley.

The design team has narrowed down the vision to three concepts. One of the options is based on an “ecological adventure.”

“Tree houses and tree walks, getting out on boardwalks on the lake. Opportunities to climb in the trees and learn from nature,” explained Gina Ford, a landscape architect for Sasaki.

The second concept is a “culture waves,” which is focused more on the arts.

“This was a sculpted landscape, that infused arts and culture uses. Sculpture walks, potentially a museum or anchor arts institution, restaurants,” Ford said.

The third concept is “railway terraces.” It’s focusing on the history of the land.

“Architecturally, terraced landscape with productive gardens. We can imagine citrus groves and botanic gardens. And then a market and a restaurant,” Ford said.

All three concepts include nature trails, and a restaurant.

“What we are going to do is just pull the best from these three concepts,” David Bunch said.

Whichever concept is selected, Bunch and Tinsley said they’re dedicated to making it a reality and will find the money to get it done.

“I want to walk in it. Yea, I’m getting a little long in the tooth and Bill is too and we want to see this happen!” Bunch said.

The planners are still accepting feedback on the latest three concepts and the designers are scheduled to return here in December with the master plan for the park.

Construction is scheduled to start in the beginning of 2018. The park is set to open in 2020.