Typically, I would dismiss an announcement that Bonnet Springs Park — the mammoth 168-acre tract amongst West Memorial Boulevard and George Jenkins Boulevard that has been under improvement for the earlier 6 years — is scheduled to open up.
Not this time.
Floor was broken for the park in March 2020, whilst scheduling begun several years prior to that. Since that time, the result of an opening-day announcement has always been the same: Announce the opening for the coming spring. Force the day again as wintertime ends to the starting of summer season. Summer nears, the opening turns to autumn. Autumn’s date lapses into winter. Repeat.
Driving by on Kathleen Highway, the development occasionally appeared of the two-measures-ahead-a single-move-back selection. Dust piled up one particular day would clean away the future. A steel body would spring up overnight, then stand barren for weeks.
But this time, there is a date, and it is a agency date: October 22 — the fourth Saturday.
Not only is there a organization date, but there are structures, a big treehouse, trails, benches, lights and drinking water attributes. With 119 days remaining, what is actually left to be done looks doable.
In a movie about the coming opening, Josh Henderson, CEO for the park, commences with “It is about time,” referencing the line that was repeated at the start of the video by many Lakelanders. It has, in fact, been a extensive time coming.
Far more FROM GADGET DADDY:
Henderson, who has spent more than 20 yrs in the parks management arena, was hired right after the groundbreaking and, according to a Bonnet Springs Park press launch at the time, was to lead “the demand to the Grand Opening at Bonnet Springs Park in 2021.”
Oops. There is certainly that optimistic opening-date business enterprise popping up once again.
But it is listed here — almost — along with a new Explorations V Kid’s Museum (which will turn out to be Florida Children’s Museum), meeting and dining facilities, three playground places, a butterfly habitat and a just about a few-mile strolling path.
Land for the park was a former railroad garden, and a principal impact for Lakeland’s early growth. After the major railyard in Florida, it was unneeded and closed in the 1980s.
All of the growth has been done by way of private funding. Park officials have said that the outpouring of neighborhood help exceeded anticipations and has authorized numerous jobs to be additional.
And as a result, almost everything has possibly a loved ones title or enterprise name connected to it. There are a lot more than two dozen issues that are named one way or the other.
All of this can be found on the park’s internet site: www.bonnetspringspark.com. There are maps of the park a selection of regular newsletters about its development online video tours of what is there and what is to occur.
The web page has places to donate (which are tax deductible), and an rationalization of how to volunteer. There’s a put to buy a 4-by-8 inch inscribed brick for $200. The memorial benches are at present bought out.
The internet site is a glimpse into the foreseeable future — a foreseeable future that is now just about 100 times away. This time, I severely question they will drive again the Oct. 22 date, limited of a hurricane. This time, they’ll make deadline. You may want to see it.
Mark your calendar.
Lonnie Brown can be reached at [email protected].