Lakefront Park Improvements
Current Status: Oakland Avenue now has angle parking on both sides and a brick paver surface and is closed to through traffic. Oakland Avenue is a cul de sac with access only from Bluford Avenue and no continuity to Lakewood Avenue. Oakland Avenue terminates at the entrance to the Lakeshore Center parking lot. The intersection of Oakland Avenue and Lakewood Avenue has been converted to a curve. The portion of Oakland Avenue that was removed from service has become a pedestrian bridge linking the downtown area to the lakefront without having to cross a street.
The total cost of the improvements depends on the specific elements selected for construction. Preliminary estimates for all three planned phases of work exceed $7 million if every proposed element is constructed. The current budget allocation is $2.5 million, which is sufficient only for Phase 1 construction. This means that additional funds from a variety of sources will likely be needed to construct some elements of the project.
Three Major Project Phases
The project will be constructed in three phases as shown in the completed Park Construction Phasing plan (PDF) to allow an early start for that portion focused on the area around the Lakeshore Center and the Withers-Maguire House gardens. Phase 2 will include work on the block containing the New City Hall (bounded by Bluford, McKey, Oakland, and Lakewood). Phase 3 will address the lakeshore and the location of the existing City Hall, which will be demolished.
Phase 1 - Lakefront Park Additions
The major element of this project phase will cost approximately $2 million and involve the removal of existing driveways, walkways, and buildings; construction of new restrooms at the lakefront, a wedding garden, and pedestrian pathways. It will also include shared parking and facilities supporting all venues, plus reconstruction of Oakland Avenue east of Bluford with angle parking. This section of Oakland will be able to support street events. A section of Oakland further to the east will be removed in order to provide a direct pedestrian connection between the upper and lower portions of the park.
Phase 2 - City Hall Block Construction
Concurrent with the construction of Ocoee’s New City Hall, Phase 2 will add a splash pad and event plaza with restrooms and an event/performance pavilion. An iconic pavilion with tower will be constructed at the northeast corner of McKey and Bluford to serve as a trailhead for the West Orange Trail Connector and to indicate a transition to public space from the downtown core of the city. The total cost for Phase 2 is around $3 million.
Phase 3 - Shoreline Improvements
The shoreline of Starke Lake will get native littoral plantings to improve lake water quality and preserve the banks, plus landscaping, improved sidewalks and lighting, more pavilions, a boardwalk, and enhanced water-access facilities (piers and docks). Phase 3 includes demolition of the existing City Hall after staff relocates to the new building, and has a total cost estimate of $2 million. Although the Downtown Master Plan called for the boat ramps to be relocated, this element of the project is not currently funded and is not included in the current concept plan.