The City of Orlando is working with the various cultural organizations at Loch Haven Park to help better define the area.
Scottie Campbell, Executive Director of the Ivanhoe Village Main Street points out , “Loch Haven Park has long been the heart of our cultural community, but I’m not sure how aware tourists, or even Orlando, in general, are that the park is there.”
The City is bringing the organizations that have property on or use the Loch Haven Park area together next week for a work session to discuss how they can work together to create a better awareness for the park and the organizations.
City Commissioner Robert Stuart tells Bungalower that when the staff came to him with this idea, he was thrilled at the opportunity to look at Loch Haven Park in a fresh new perspective.
“In the next few years, as Florida Hospital’s Health Village develops and SuRail becomes part of our lives, Loch Haven Park will become even more important to our community. To me, it’s a jewel of our city that continues to shine throughout the region,” said Stuart.
The goal of their meeting is to help the organizations plan out what the brand and identity for the park should be.
“If you look at other major cultural parks cross the county…usually there is a web presence with a common brand and identity for the parks. We don’t really have that in Orlando,” said Jason Burton, Chief Planner at the City of Orlando.
While creating a brand and identity is important for the area, it’s just one aspect of bringing focus to the organizations and the park.
One change to the park they are working on is extending the sidewalk and bike trail to circle around the green-space in the park which would help to connect the organizations via a walking path/trail.
“The park itself doesn’t have connoting sidewalks between all the entities. The other thing we want people to do is be able to walk to SunRail,” Burton said.
The sidewalk expansion will be happening next summer using part of a federal sidewalk grant that the City of Orlando received.
In addition to the sidewalk, Burton hopes they’ll be able to create a space for gathering on the lawn including a small seating area and a stage.
The City also received a National Endowment for the Arts grant that will be used to commission two pieces of public art in Ivanhoe Village to help promote Loch Haven Park.
One will be on or near Orange Ave in the heart of Ivanhoe Village and the other near the Florida Hospital SunRail stations. Both pieces of art will be promoting Loch Haven Park.
Another way to create a better identity for the park is to make sure that those who are driving through it know it’s there.
“You can drive down Princeton Street and not know you are driving through a cultural park,” said Burton.
Part of the puzzle is getting people to slow down and recognize that the park is there and to make is safer for pedestrians.
To help slow traffic they are considering adding what is known as a speed table. It’s essentially a slightly raised crosswalk that might be made of pavers.
There also could be an opportunity to add a bike lane on Princeton St.
They are also looking into adding banners, increased lighting and better way-finding signage that would be consistent with the Loch Haven Park brand to let people know about the organizations in the park and the events happening there.
“Hopefully those things together would improve the traffic situation and calm the speed,” Burton said.
In addition to the NEA funding for the public art and the federal grant for the sidewalk additional funding would come from the public and private entities. Already supporting the plan are Commissioner Stuart, the Edith Bush Foundation and Florida Hospital.
The groups are meeting early next week to determine the best way for the groups to work together with the city to make Loch Haven Park a focal point for the city. A lot will be driven by what the organizations want and what funding is available.
Those interested in learning more can come to the open house following their workshop on November 7, 2013, at 3:00 PM at the Orlando Museum of Art’s auditorium.
“The park has inspired more and more arts to come to Ivanhoe Village organically making it Orlando’s cultural district, which ironically people try to manufacture elsewhere. I think working together to promote the park, could make it the destination it deserves to be,” Campbell said.