Communication Builds Our Community

Crystal Lake Trail Design Plans Unveiled

Public Viewing Available Downtown 11-1 Friday, Aug. 21

The city's consultants in an online open house Aug. 20 unveiled a design plan for a Crystal Lake Connector Trail that links downtown to the trail around Lake Wailes.

City staff will be showing off designs and answering questions from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21 in a storefront at 220 E. Park Ave.

About 30 citizens participated in the online open house with city staff and consultants from urban planners Dover-Kohl and design architects S & ME. The consultants are working to coordinate the Crystal Lake plans with the Park Avenue streetscape that is the first phase of the Lake Wales Connected downtown redevelopment initiative.

Bruce Hall from S & M E showed off initial design concepts that envision a trail around Crystal Lake that would incorporate 3rd Street behind the Lake Wales Public Library and the north half of Park Avenue between Lakeshore Boulevard and Scenic Highway. The 12 feet closest to the lake on Park Avenue would be a pedestrian and bike trail, while the other 12 feet would be designated for one way vehicle traffic between the lake and downtown.

Hall said the trail circling Crystal Lake could have decorative lights and covered picnic tables. Power lines could be buried to enhance the aesthetics of the area.

Additional design work and construction documents would be completed over the next 10 months, with construction to begin in July 2021, Hall said.

Victor Dover with the Dover-Kohl planning firm said the intersection of Scenic Highway and Park Avenue would need to be reconfigured to be more pedestrian friendly so people would be more amenable to parking on the east side of Scenic and crossing over to visit downtown. He said parking is still a significant issue and concern that is being addressed as part of the Park Avenue streetscape, which envisions two-way traffic between Scenic Highway and Wetmore Street, with one lane of parallel parking on the north side of Park Avenue.

Open House attendees voiced their opinions by texting answers on their cell phones. Ninety-three percent said a trail connecting downtown and Lake Wailes Park would be beneficial. Twenty percent said they use the city's existing trails daily, 19 percent said weekly and 50 percent said they use the trails occasionally. Forty-three percent said they would use the Crystal Lake Trail for exercise, 23 percent said for access to Crystal Lake and 31 percent to access downtown from surrounding neighborhoods. Eighty nine percent said they favor reconfiguring Park Avenue to enable walking and biking on a trail. Sixty four percent said they would like to see additional picnic pavilions along the trail in Crystal Lake Park, while 20 percent said no and 16 percent had no opinion. Fifty six percent said they "love" the trail designs presented so far and 33 percent said they were headed in the right direction.


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