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Clermont approves a master plan that is expected to add more energy and activity to the Downtown area
Clermont has adopted a Master Plan that is expected to "add energy and activity to the Downtown core" and "re-orient and diversify waterfront activities."

City Council adopted the plan presented by GAI Consultants at a special meeting held Monday.

GAI's Pete Secular presented the outline for the city's future to the praise of the audience that attended.

Sechler identified "centers" in the city and showed how they would be connected in the future helping to unify the community.

The jewel in the crown is Clermont's Historic Downtown District. The plan allows for changes that will fundamentally keep the character while at the same time make better use of the area. As with any plan, there are short term, medium term and long term goals to make the changes happen.

The entrance to Downtown would be modified to make it a gateway and welcoming entrance. Short term plans call for better signage, but the longer term opens the area of Center Lake up for better visibility.

"We want to create a window to Downtown from SR50 with compelling views," he continued.

Sechler noted that the area in front of the lake is now blocked by trees. While he admitted no one likes removing trees, these block the view of the lake. By clearing those and adding others to the rear of the lake along with buildings compatible with the area, the lake becomes a vista that can be seen from SR 50.

Currently "you don't know Downtown is back there," Sechler told the council.

The plan also resolves an often heard complaint that the activities at Waterfront Park are too far away to impact the Historic area. The plan calls for redeveloping the promenade, boat ramp and surrounding area to migrate triathlons, rowing events, cycling and similar activities to the Downtown area instead of at the other end of the trail.

This would bring the thousands of spectators where it will have the most impact. The existing boat ramp and community activities, would be located at Waterfront Park giving boaters easier access from East Avenue instead of the circuitous route to the current ramp.

The South Lake Trail would be moved closer to the water and spurs would provide alternate routes for users. A zig zag trail would lead up from Lake Minneola to Minneola Avenue and then reconnect further west.

A new retention system for water would be implemented eliminating many of the smaller ones scattered about the area, creating more usable space while better controlling rainwater.

Person after person got up to praise the plan. Alison Strange of PFX Athletics said she strongly encouraged the city to adopt the plan.

Ed Apodaka of the Clermont Downtown Partnership liked the signage aspect of the plan. Stacey Smith of the sailing club requested that consideration for sailboats be a part of the plan which Sechler said would be the case.

Paul McPherson of the Lake County Rowing Association liked the plan and requested that paddle craft be located at the west end near the boathouse away from the power boats.

Funding for the project will come from various sources including taxes, grants and philanthropy.

The council adopted the plan anonymously.

Planners from GAI Consultants Richard Levey (left) Pete Sechler and Blake Drury. The three helped craft the master plan the city adopted Monday to guide its future growth. (Photos by Mike Corradino)
pig on the pond
Sechler and Bowler
GAI Consultant Pete Sechler discusses the South Lake Trail with Karen Bowler of Park Run at Monday's special city council meeting. The city adopted the plan which it hopes will revitalize the Historic Downtown area. (Photo by Mike Corradino)
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