March 23, 2017

A meeting of the Lake County Board of County Commissioners was advertised for a special Parks and Trails session on Thursday, March 23, 2017, at 6:00 p.m., at the Olde Mill Stream RV Resort, 1000 N. Central Ave., Umatilla. Commissioners present at the meeting were:  Josh Blake. Others present were: Bobby Bonilla, Parks and Trails Division Manager, and Angela Harrold, Deputy Clerk.

Commr. Blake welcomed and thanked the residents for attending the meeting and recognized Scott Blankenship, City Manager for the City of Umatilla; Kay Adams and Eric Olson, City of Umatilla Council Members; Susan Martin, City of Umatilla Chamber of Commerce; Jay Perry, the Ocala National Forest OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) Program Coordinator and Mr. Mike Woods, representing the Lake-Sumter MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization.)  He stated that the important goal for the meeting was to gain input from the residents of Lake County and pointed out that there were some good trail opportunities for the District 5 area.

Ms. Ginger Corliss, representing Tindale Oliver and Associates explained that she had been involved in parks and recreational planning for over 30 years in the State of Florida. She noted that the purpose was to update the Lake County Parks and Recreation Master Plan that was created in 2005 as well as the Trails Master Plan created in 2008. She stated that part of the update was to gain public input. She reviewed the current Lake County Parks and Recreation Master Plan and noted that the parks and the trails master plans work together. She outlined the schedule for the master plan and listed all of the County’s passive and recreational parks. She went over current and upcoming park projects.

Ms. Corliss asked each table to work as a group for thirty minutes to gather a list of recommendations for updates and new ideas that the residents would like to see implemented at the County-owned parks and trails.

Some of the ideas recommended by the residents included better access to North Lake Park for bicycles and pedestrians, converting tennis courts to mixed use courts for pickleball, restrooms at all trail heads, closer access points to bike trails, and a trailhead in Umatilla tied in to Alexander Springs. They suggested that improvements be made to the dog park within North Lake Park such as dividing the area into two separate spaces for small dogs and for large dogs, adding shade canopies, fixing the water fountain, and adding pavers around the benches to deter the dogs from digging near them. The residents suggested adding lighting to a couple of the baseball fields at North Lake Park, adding cigarette receptacles near the parking lots at the area parks, completing phase II of Mctureous Memorial Park in Altoona, increased funding to purchase available lands, fishing piers on boat ramps, more trail connectivity from urban areas to rural areas, funding the completion of the North Lake Trail and possibly extending it down into Eustis, more mountain biking and equestrian trails, a trail from Umatilla to Altoona, signage about when hunting season is and education on hunting dogs, and getting more information out to the public so people are informed about the activities, parks and trails throughout Lake County.  

Ms. Corliss noted that there were brochures available for the residents to take and pass out to people who were unable to attend the meeting. She suggested that the residents visit the Lake County Parks and Trails website and Facebook page to learn where all of the events, parks, boat ramps and trails are located in the county.  She stated that communication and outreach is very important in educating the residents on where the various parks and trails are located. She encouraged the residents to complete the online parks survey on the Lake County website at www.surveymonkey.com/r/LakeCountyCommSurvey.

Commr. Blake thanked the residents again for attending and thanked the facility owner for allowing the meeting to take place there. He stated that staff would be following up with the residents on the progress being made on the Parks and Trails Master Plan.


There being no further business to be brought to the attention of the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 7:28 p.m.