ABOVE: Coach Hutchinson (left) greets returning Mount Dora High School football players today.
Just as initial construction started on Mount Dora High School’s multi-phase stadium improvement project, the school tapped a new head football coach.
Luke Hutchinson, recently an assistant coach at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, started today in his new role as the Hurricanes’ head coach today. A native of Fort Pierce, Hutchinson is entering his thirteenth year of coaching and has coached in both California and Florida. His coaching history includes a stint at Upland High School east of Los Angeles, as well as the defensive coordinator for the Riverside Notre Dame CIF Championship team in 2015.
Meanwhile, construction has started on correcting the football field's drainage, the first step of the school’s multi-phase stadium improvement project. The improvements are due in large part to a community fundraising effort that garnered almost $500,000 within just a few months.
Phase One of the construction project includes the improved drainage and complete reconstruction of the football field, a rebuild of two concession stands, paint and landscaping at a cost of about $1.25 million. The school district contributed $250,000 toward the field improvements, and the Mount Dora community is getting closer to its initial $500,000 goal. Once that goal is reached, Mount Dora Community Trust will providing a matching grant of another $500,000. Completion of the initial phase is expected in about eight months.
This is the starting phase of a five-year plan to upgrade the field and stadium, which was built in 1961. Future phases will include the addition of artificial turf and replacement of the asphalt track.
As part of the ongoing efforts to fund the other phases, a new Mount Dora cookbook will soon be available and residents are now being asked to submit their favorite recipes. Entries can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Mount Dora Recipes, 128 W. Fourth Avenue, Mount Dora, FL 32757. The cookbooks will cost $18.95 and pre-ordering is encouraged. Click here for more information.
Families and businesses also have the opportunity to purchase a brick with their name to be placed at the finished stadium. The proceeds from both projects will go directly to the stadium improvement project.
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Our January 4, 2022 Mount Dora City Council meeting was fairly brief mostly because of the recent holidays. I chosen several items to highlight for you but please keep in mind that what follows come only from me. I'm not reporting on behalf of City Council as a whole.
Resolutions were read by Mayor Stile recognizing the service of former elected city officials; former Mayor Cathy Hoechst, former Vice Mayor Harmon Massey and former District 1 Council Member Pam Burtnett. All three of them were on hand. They all served our city with integrity and energy. I personally appreciate each of them for their willingness to serve. Their contributions have made Mount Dora an even better place to live, work and play.
I have championed an ordinance that would put a temporary moratorium on the consideration of any buildings over 35' tall in the downtown historic district until our Building Heights Advisory Committee completes its work in about 4 months time. My rational is that I want citizens to rest assured that there is no intent on the part of City Council to approve any taller buildings in that area in the near term. To my knowledge there are no projects that would exceed the current 35' and 25' height restrictions in the pipeline at this time. Some council members expressed their belief that this moratorium would hamstring City Council, but the first reading passed by a 5-2 vote with Gunther and Rolfson voting no.
Look for some improvements coming up in the downtown area where "landscape islands" are located mostly along Donnelly St. Two of those bump out features will be removed and drainage grates as well as electrical outlets near several others will be reworked to make them safer and less likely to require constant repairs.
I'd like to remind you that on Monday January 10th at 6:00 there will be a public presentation and Q &A about the proposed Mount Dora Groves development on either side of US Rt 441 between ABC Liquor Store and The Country Club of Mount Dora. That meeting will be held at the Community Building.
On Saturday January 22nd, please plan to drop of food or monetary donations for Lake Cares Food Pantry at the fire station between 10:00-2:00. This is a friendly competition with Eustis and Tavares. The food bank deserves our support. Thanks in advance for your support.
My quote of the day comes from former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "I think it will take people, true patriots, on both sides of the aisle to say enough of this nonsense, we should all work together for the good of the people of the United States."
Thank you for your continued interest in our great community.