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Jernigan

Constitution Green

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If this doesn't deserve its own topic, I'll understand....didn't want it to get lost in another though.

Important: I have learned that the owner of Constitution Green is planning on building town homes on the property that the city has leased as a park and home to some trees 100s of years old.

The developer is not planning on saving any of the trees. From what I understand, the City has gone as far as to discuss relaxing height restrictions to lure the developer to preserve the trees and some green space on the western side of the property. The developer is not interested.

Write to your commissioner and Mayor Dyer if you are interested in helping preserve some needed green space. All of this S Eola development will bring residents. Aside from environmental reasons, this space will only help to mitigate congestion at Lake Eola.

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If they do save it, it will probably be in a courtyard with private access for residents. If the City wanted a park, they should have bought the land. 

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This is a travesty. I'm disgusted and sick to my stomach after reading this. I'm gonna walk over there right now.

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Just seems like there's plenty of other spaces in the area that should be developed first. Sucks to be destroying a park to keep a parking lot.

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This is a problem.  It's probably best to have the City purchase it to be a park if there's enough public involvement.  Lake Eola Park is already getting crowded.  With all of the new units coming on line in the next couple of years, it just won't be big enough.

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Just seems like there's plenty of other spaces in the area that should be developed first. Sucks to be destroying a park to keep a parking lot.

 

I agree. I hope the City/County makes some smart decisions in the coming weeks.  Parcels with so much potential (like the recently discussed lot by SoDo and the one east of Mills50) will be home to strip malls and drive-throughs instead of the mixed-use mid-rises they're zoned for.  Meanwhile, a much-needed park with historic trees could be destroyed for...townhomes?   

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I drive by all of the time and never see people there. If everyone cares, convince the City to buy it. My guess is that they will scream poverty. Especially now that land prices are higher. 

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Yeah, I used to walk by it all the time and there was never a soul there. It can't just sit there as it is just to save the trees. The city would have to spend money and turn it into a real park to make people actually want to gather there. It is also a very small lot. If they could do like a Japanese garden that would be awesome. Something like that...a quiet place for residents not into the all the activity at Lake Eola. However, if they don't want to put proper walking paths around it with lighting and benches, then townhomes are a better usage of that space.

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Ya, I'm torn.  I think that something better than townhomes deserves to go there.  However, it can't sit as it does.  It's a park that gets almost no use.  I'm all for making it a better park.

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Somebody should organize a very loud, vocal & embarrassing (for the developer) protest to save that tree.

 

Block the bulldozers, etc.

 

Absolutely unbelievable that the city never did anything to protect that tree.

 

They can block permitting for just about anything else they want to.

 

Seems like they could throw some roadblocks in the way of these clowns.

 

But I guess big money talks louder than the citizenry.

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The property is not really zoned for development yet.  They did change the Future Land Use in about 2010 to residential medium/high but they still need to rezone.  That will require public hearings and there will be opportunity for public input, unless they hide their public hearing placard back on Mariposa like they did last time.

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Somebody should organize a very loud, vocal & embarrassing (for the developer) protest to save that tree.

 

Block the bulldozers, etc.

 

Absolutely unbelievable that the city never did anything to protect that tree.

 

They can block permitting for just about anything else they want to.

 

Seems like they could throw some roadblocks in the way of these clowns.

 

But I guess big money talks louder than the citizenry.

 

You could always chain yourself to it.  You seem very emotionally attached to this tree.  Is there some special memory you have of it?

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I can see both sides. To be fair, I live downtown and have a dog but have used that park less than ten times. And everytime we are out there, we are usually the only ones. Never more than a couple of people. It's also never used for events.

That being said, there's not much green space downtown and with all this development, we will certainly need it. Especially considering how many downtown residents are also dog owners.

I believe I read something and the grassy area by the County building on Rosalind becoming a sculpture garden. That green space also has a lot of potential. There is a small garden on the space that is quite nice. This would aso make a great space for a community garden.

Constitution Green has a ton of potential too. What a great space that would be if we added a small fenced area for dogs, some benches, some sort of water feature and perhaps a community garden.

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Somebody should organize a very loud, vocal & embarrassing (for the developer) protest to save that tree.

 

Block the bulldozers, etc.

 

Absolutely unbelievable that the city never did anything to protect that tree.

 

They can block permitting for just about anything else they want to.

 

Seems like they could throw some roadblocks in the way of these clowns.

 

But I guess big money talks louder than the citizenry.

Maybe, but the City has no compelling reason to block it. I know you need a permit to tear down a tree (seriously) but they run the risk of being sued if it is not objective reason to block it. 

 

Don't tear down this tree because I like to look at it as I drive by is going to fail. . 

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I'm as excited about new development as anyone else here, but there are 1,450 units planned or under construction within a five-minute walk of this park.  The only other easily accessible park is Lake Eola, which is often crowded and has very little greenspace when you actually look at it.   This is an asset that the neighborhood needs.

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I love the way this space looks, and despite running the risk of sounding like a "tree-hugger", I do think it's terrible how frequently we chop down these beautiful old oaks.  That said, I'll echo the others - I lived a few blocks away from this place for years and sat on a bench there maybe once.  Granted, that could change dramatically with all of the other new buildings coming up (it used to be a nice green space surrounded by empty or ugly lots).  I remember being surprised when I found out the city didn't own the lot because it is clearly in the path of eventual development, so I guess we're finally there.  The ironic part is that they'll probably name the  development "Constitution Green Commons" or "Oak Tree Park"....

 

The green space in front of the county admin building is getting a handful of sculptures installed this year.  There is actually a community garden of sorts at the southwest corner - a short path that walks through a number of labeled plants indigenous to central florida.  I micro nature walk I guess.  The lawn is still not large enough to serve much of a park-like purpose. Downtown will need more green space, the Creative Village area seems like an obvious choice, especially if UCF/Valencia builds there, what's a campus without a lawn? Also, at what point does development on the Thornton Park/South Eola side of town start awakening people to the existence of Langford Park? Lots of potential there, great pavilions, grills, and shade.  Moderate sketchiness from being connected the the projects on the south side, but still under-utilized in my book 

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Langford park is good but I think the sketchiness factor is a huge deterrent. My fiancé and I take the dog there when we go over to Dickson but other than an occasional jogger and maybe some kids playing basketball, we are the only non-homeless individuals there. That's a huge deterrent. I doubt that either her or myself would ever take the dog there alone. If you want to attract south eola residents to come jog, walk their dog, etc. then you've got to ensure safety and clean up the image

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No one really goes there because it's not a real park. -- had the city found a way to purchase this lot and turn it into something over than a grassy patch with a few (very beautiful and old) trees, then perhaps it would get use.  Right now, Constitution Green is the unofficial dog park of South Eola (look out for the poo when you walk through it!). 

 

Anyway, I always thought this would be a cool spot for a mini public garden or sculpture park (although Lake Eola seems to have that covered at this point).  It could even have been developed into a "Savannah style" square with old oaks, a central feature such as a fountain or station, and areas to linger.  I suggested this on this forum in the past, and to Mayor Dyer several years ago.

 

My question is, did the city actually ever have an opportunity to purchase this land as a park?  If someone has the history, I'd love to hear it.

Edited by prahaboheme

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I heard that there was a recent lawsuit regarding this property and that the City lost that lawsuit.  Does anyone have info about that?

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Just happened to drive by this park today. Other than the tree (which is beautiful) there isn't much else significant about it. Hopefully what ever does goes get built incorporates the tree as a feature.

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The ownership once told me the offered to sell but the City thought it was too much. i do not know if that is true. 

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You could always chain yourself to it.  You seem very emotionally attached to this tree.  Is there some special memory you have of it?

 

You seem rather upset by my comments.

Edited by JFW657

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It could even have been developed into a "Savannah style" square with old oaks, a central feature such as a fountain or station, and areas to linger.

 

This.

 

I think the Thornton Park Brownstones will look great beside it and help create more of a define outdoor space.  On a side note, I wonder how many people will buy one of those expensive units expecting the park to stay...

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The ownership once told me the offered to sell but the City thought it was too much. i do not know if that is true. 

 

I believe it. Constitution Green has been owned by the same group for decades, so the city had plenty of time to make an offer. Maybe the price was the determining factor in why the city only leases the land. According to the owner's representatives, the City's lease states that it's current use as a park would not be a limiting factor in future zoning and the city contemplates more active and intense uses on the property, including non-residential uses. Despite the terms of the lease, in 2005 the City then tried to exclude the property from the Eola Subarea zoning policy even though surrounding properties have future land use designations of greater intensity. I haven't been able to find any other info, but an old listing states the property has zoning designations of Residential-High intensity (max building height of 130') along the Eastern side of Eola Dr, and Residential-Medium intensity (max building height of 55') along the Western side of Summerlin Ave.

 

If the city is willing to relax height restrictions, the developer could achieve the best of both worlds.

Edited by nite owℓ

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