A tremendous opportunity is knocking on Mount Dora's door. Via the planned Wekiva Trail, the city has an opportunity to enhance the community with a regional bike trail connecting its downtown with various neighborhoods. The proposed trail would also link to Seminole and Orange counties and indirectly to the Central Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail.
The trail would begin in downtown Mount Dora, and cross Tremain Street and U.S. 441 utilizing existing bridges. It would continue through Sorrento and Mount Plymouth to east of Camp Challenge where the first completed segment of the Wekiva Parkway project just opened to traffic.
An upcoming decision by Mount Dora City Council will determine whether the four-year study of the trail's path will be approved so funds in this year’s state budget can be utilized to design the trail. The proposed trail is ready for presentation to the city council on February 16.
"This is an important and greatly anticipated project for Mount Dora. I look forward to the presentation," said Mayor Nick Girone. "Our community could have a wonderful, new recreational amenity with a positive economic impact in the future."
If approval is granted, the proposed trail will go before the Lake County Board of County Commissioners March 1. It is expected the county will move forward on the project if it's supported by Mount Dora. The project development and environment study began in 2012 and is nearing completion. It analyzed five route alternatives, and concluded it was preferable to follow the historic rail corridor utilized by Florida Central Railroad. The use of the rail bed means no trees will be removed to accommodate the trail.
A major trailhead is planned next to the SR 46 and SR 429 interchange where users can opt to continue to Seminole County via the Seminole Trail or head into Orange County to the West Orange Trail. Those trails are part of the 250-mile Central Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail which connects the Canaveral National Seashore to St. Petersburg.Eighty percent of the coast-to-coast trail is complete.
The Wekiva Trail would utilize the existing public parking lot northwest of the historic rail trestle over Tremain Street. The railroad trestle would be preserved and adapted for walkers and cyclists by replacing the train rail with a deck and adding a safety railing. The use of the trestle for the trail was the best option to ensure its preservation.
The proposed trail path has been supported through a process involving the Federal Highway Administration, Florida Department of Transportation and the State Historic Preservation Office. The trail's alignment along the rail corridor is supported by a cultural resource committee and by the Mount Dora Historic Preservation Board.
Additional information on the Wekiva Trail can be found at LakeWekivaTrail.com or by contacting T.J. Fish at Lake~Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization at 352-315-0170.
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Above: Proposed design for Tremain Street trestle preservation
Above: Proposed route following historic rail corridor.