It started with a water tower. Then one woman’s vision became a passion for others.
Approximately 9 years ago, Mount Dora resident Doris Cole wrote to the city manager about converting an unused, city-owned lot into a neighborhood green space. At one time, the narrow lot sat beneath the city’s steel water tower. Cole received no response.
Fast forward to 2016 when Cole presented the idea to former Mount Dora City Councilman Ed Rowlett. Encouraged by his positive response, she joined forces with neighboring residents and the idea quickly picked up steam.
The transformation of the small lot into Serenity Park, the city’s newest pocket park located on 9th Avenue and Tremain Street, was spearheaded by Mount Dora resident Mary Miller and a team of 8 volunteers, each with his or her own talent. Roy Hughes, the City of Mount Dora’s Parks and Recreation Director, provided the group with the necessary assistance and guidance.
“Our goal was for this to be a quiet space for neighbors to meet. In addition, Serenity Park is adjacent to the Tremain Street Greenway. This park will also be an ideal respite for trail users,” said Miller.
The park will feature a mature oak tree, a curved cement path, benches, flower beds, two donated oak trees, a donated new bike stand, a book nook and a drinking fountain that includes wheelchair and pet level access plus a place for walkers and cyclists to refill their water bottles.
Hughes is hoping for a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony by the end of September.
A fundraising program that sells engraved bricks for installation along the park’s path is currently underway. For more information on the engraved bricks, ranging in price from $50 to $150, call or visit Mount Dora Community Trust located at 821 N. Donnelly St.
The residents secured a $3,500 grant from the Community Trust, and another grant application is pending. To date, the residents have raised $10,000 to transform the vacant lot into a park.
With all of the group’s accomplishments, Miller said she is most proud of the city's overall support, including the Parks Department, Mount Dora Community Trust, the Serenity Park team members and everyone who has made contributions.
Residents that devoted time to the project included Linda Brockway, Peggy Cannaday, Doris Cole, Deanna Howell, Fadia Khader, Mary C. Miller, Darrin Peterman, Rick Santiago, Roy Hughes and his crew.
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