Crystal Lake Trail Project Moving Forward
New Trail Will Connect Lake Wailes Trail, Downtown Along Park Avenue
Last updated 8/4/2022 at 1:56pm
Construction is progressing rapidly on the Park Avenue Connector Trail, a 3000-foot multiuse trail being constructed by the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Agency. The project is a key element of the Lake Wales Connected plans which are expected to transform and revitalize the city's center in coming years.
Construction of the new trail is utilizing about one-half of the right-of-way of Park Avenue, which was 24 feet wide despite being a one-way street. The new design features a narrow median of low plants that will divide the vehicle lane from the walking and bicycle trail.
The trail segment presently underway will encircle the library and the Lake Wales Woman's Club auditorium, connecting to the linier park along the railroad and near Scenic Highway. It's the logical next step in establishing a network of trails linking residents to parks and area business services.
The project includes the relocation of certain utility lines, construction of the multi-use trail, new curbing, and a scenic overlook at Crystal Lake. The trail will also feature contemporary landscaping and trail lighting to conform with that on the Lake Wailes Trail. Parallel parking will be provided at "bump-outs" along the residential portion of Park Avenue.
Construction of the Park Avenue downtown streetscape project is expected to begin this autumn, starting with the western-most portion of the project between First Street and Wetmore. It will include removal of the existing street surface to produce narrower vehicle lanes to two-way traffic, along with wider sidewalks and a tree-shaded pedestrian promenade. Both angled and parallel parking are included in the design.
Work will eventually extend eastward to Scenic Highway, allowing for the restoration of historic brick paving, wide sidewalks to accommodate outdoor dining, and the reconfiguration of the intersection of Park and Scenic Highway.
The extensive Lake Wales Connected plan also includes future reconstruction of First Street north of Central Avenue, Central east of First Street, improvements to both Orange and Crystal Avenues, and more than a mile of new sidewalks in the Northwest Neighborhood. All the affected streets will receive new shade trees as part of the city's makeover to recapture the "Garden City" intent of the founders.
Other residential streets throughout the city will be receiving new street trees through the work of Lake Wales Heritage, a not-for-profit organization engaged in recreating the city's original streetscape plans created by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.