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By Tom Paulson
City Editor 

Portion of Third Street to Close Permanently Wednesday

Stretch Along Crystal Lake to Become Part of Trail Project

 

Last updated 4/12/2022 at 9:36am

Image courtesy City of Lake Wales

Third Street will be permanently closed from Park Avenue, adjacent to the First Presbyterian Church, to Crystal Avenue, next to the Lake Wales Public Library. A scenic overlook is planned for that area.

A portion of Third Street between Park Avenue and Crystal Avenue will be permanently closed to vehicular traffic on Wednesday, April 6 in order to become a segment of a new pedestrian and bicycle trail linking the popular Lake Wailes Trail with downtown Lake Wales.

Bollards will be installed at both ends of the short block in order to prevents motorized vehicles from entering, but are designed to be removable to permit special events such as food-truck rallies to take place.

Image courtesy City of Lake Wales

The new Park Avenue/Crystal Lake Trail will provide pedestrian and bicycle access directly from the Lake Wailes Trail to downtown restaurants and services.

The closure essentially creates a continuous public park from the area of Lake Wales Public Library to Kiwanis Park on the northeastern end of Lake Wailes, a straight-line distance of about two and a quarter miles, but featuring more than five miles of continuous paths for pedestrians and bicycles. That entire network will be divided only by Lakeshore Boulevard. That crossing will feature new safety features including flashing warning lights and striping.

Construction on the remainder of the Park Avenue Trail will commence this week, following a Monday morning groundbreaking adjacent to the library.

The new construction will also connect that trail to the lineal trail segment adjacent to Scenic Highway along the path of the Mid-Florida Railroad. That segment will benefit from a recent grant from T-Mobile of more that $48,000 for new landscaping. The balance of the trail will also receive new plantings under a design created by city horticulturist Lester Gulledge. Many of the plants are being propagated or nurtured in a new city-owned nursery.

 

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