UPDATED NOV. 5, 2019
The City of Clermont’s award-winning Master Plan is our road map as we design the future of our city for the next five, 10 and 20 years. Like any plan, it is meant to be a guide and is intended to adapt to changing circumstances.
There are 32 projects in the overall Master Plan, including green streets, streetscape, trails, parks and infrastructure improvements. The $30-million Master Plan projects are being funded by Lake County's Infrastructure Sales Tax, also known as the Penny Sales Tax; no property tax dollars are being used to fund the Master Plan.
While much of the focus is on the Downtown-Waterfront District, the Master Plan offers insight on how to keep our growing city connected and how to protect the very charms that have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to this internationally recognized city that is one of the nation's top places to live and also a training ground for the world's elite athletes.
It all started in 2012, when Darren Gray became Clermont’s city manager. Many people asked about his plans for Clermont’s future. So he turned that question to our citizens and listened to what they wanted. In 2013, he held a series of community visioning sessions. Over 1,000 residents attended. Time and time again, they told him that they wanted a vibrant downtown.
In 2014, the city embraced a bold, new brand identifying Clermont as the the Choice of Champions®. Then, in March 2015, our City Council adopted the Master Plan with three priorities – to enhance, connect and grow our community. For many months after that, the team from GAI Consultants studied the research that came out of the visioning sessions and worked with city planners and other staff to create a strategic master plan that would enhance Clermont's many assets and charms -- especially in the Downtown-Waterfront District. In 2016, the Master Plan won the Florida Redevelopment Association state award and the Lake-Sumter MPO regional award. We are dedicated to bringing this vision to life and have already made great progress.
VICTORY POINTE -- COMPLETED JULY 2018
We are delivering on our promises. In July 2018, we completed our first major project of the Master Plan — Victory Pointe.
Victory Pointe is located at 938 Victory Way, just west of Clermont's Historic Village. Not only is it a stormwater filtration system, but it’s also an urban passive park and event venue. Already it has encouraged development and redevelopment downtown by allowing businesses to maximize their sites. It’s also encouraging foot traffic from the Waterfront to our Downtown shops and restaurants.
We’ve also made great progress with some other projects in our Master Plan.
BOAT RAMP -- UNDER CONSTRUCTION
The City of Clermont is building a larger boat ramp in a new location based on valuable feedback from key community groups. We expect to have the project completed by the end of 2019. A project bid from Traverse Group for $2.49 million was unanimously approved by our City Council at the May 28 public meeting. A big win, Lake County Commission approved the city's request for partial funding for $750,000 at their board meeting on May 21, utilizing the county's tourism development tax. The city has applied for additional funding through grants. A lot of behind-the-scenes work was done on the boat ramp, including surveys for boundary, topographic, tree, wetland locations, borings and geotechnical aspects; underground utility locations; and an environmental survey.
The existing boat ramp between Victory Pointe and the Clermont Boat House will be relocated east to the southern bank of Lake Minneola, known as the former Bell Ceramics site, just east of Waterfront Pa. This will shift motorized watercrafts away from the many non-motorized watercrafts that launch from the Clermont Boat House and Victory Pointe. The new ramp will double the launch pads from two to four, increase parking from 77 to 102 spots, add eight to 10 mooring slips for peak traffic and have new restrooms. As part of the plan, the South Lake Trail was rerouted around the boat ramp for safety.
Aerial photo of boat ramp construction, early October 2019
Here's the latest progress update (9/24/19): The new Clermont Boat Ramp is progressing well and is on schedule. The new trail route is open and in service, and the old route was taken out of service. The turn lane from East Avenue into the parking lot is complete and sodding of the first phase of the project is underway. Grading and dirt removal continues over the next several weeks, and paving of the parking area's drive lanes is ongoing. Work on the ramp has begun in the water with proper measures taken to protect the lake from construction. Sheet piles are in place to dry the area to build the ramp and dock, and work has begun on construction of the ramps. Sections of the dock have arrived on site.
Aerial photo of boat ramp construction, early October 2019
KEHLOR RECREATION CENTER -- CONSTRUCTION COMPLETE, RIBBON CUTTING SET
We love our seniors! That's why we built them a bigger, better senior center right in front of the old one in Kehlor Park, on the east side of downtown. Construction started in December 2018, after City Council approved the $484,000 project. Construction is complete and a ribbon cutting is set for 10 a.m. Nov. 15. Read the city's news release on the ribbon cutting here.
The existing building served us well for over 60 years and was repaired many times; it will stay open until the new building is complete. The new building was designed by Powell Studio Architecture to be consistent with the look of other city structures downtown and around the city. Amenities will include a multipurpose room, restrooms and storage. Popular Champions For A Lifetime senior programs currently at the Clermont Arts and Recreation Center will be expanded to the new Kehlor Recreation Center.
A view of the progress -- photo taken Aug. 19, 2019
WI-FI TRAIL -- LIVE IN LIMITED LOCATIONS
The Clermont Wi-Fi Trail will offer free public Wi-Fi along our 2.5 miles of South Lake Trail along Lake Minneola, as well as in the six square blocks of our Downtown core. Installation has begun, with an estimated completion in 2020. The addition will enhance safety and navigation for our trail users. Plus, it will be able to support events with data and live broadcasting in these key areas.
A contractor was selected in November 2018 to complete the project in parts beginning with the Waterfront and then expanding into the Downtown business area. In March 2019, we went live in limited locations along our Waterfront -- Champions Splash Park, Waterfront Park, Clermont Boat House, Clermont Boat Ramp, Highlander Pavilion and the northern portion of Victory Pointe. Next up, electrical work will be done along the trail and the gaps where we don't have existing fiber will be completed. While we initially expected the project to be completed in 2019, multiple bids were needed to get an electrical contractor due to the busy construction market; this slight delay has pushed the completion date to 2020.
GATEWAY ENTRY FEATURES -- COMPLETED 9/19
Attractive gateway entry features were completed in September 2019 to welcome everyone into the City of Clermont. Construction began in April 2019. The large towers, similar in design to the 8th Street entryway to Downtown Clermont, are located on our eastern and western boundaries on State Road 50, one of the most highly trafficked roads in the area. These structures delineate and demarcate Clermont from Groveland to our west and Orange County to our east while reinforcing our theme and brand. The feature at the intersection with Lake Boulevard is on the north side of the road, while the one on 12th Street is on the south side of the road. Standing over 25 feet tall, these themed towers light up at night and are surrounded by beautiful landscaping and an architectural wall. We're letting everyone know that "Clermont Welcomes You."
DOWNTOWN-WATERFRONT DISTRICT IMPROVEMENTS (STREETSCAPES) -- IN PROGRESS
The next part of the Master Plan strikes at the heart of our Downtown. This area includes Montrose, Minneola and Osceola streets between West and Lake avenues. The proposed improvements include streetscape, landscaping, bathrooms, lighting, upgrades for event lighting and music, banners and beautification. We plan to construct this $12 million project in three phases to allow for continued business operations and traffic flow in Downtown.
The Art Walk will break ground by 2020 with an estimated completion by the end of 2020. This festive new walkway will celebrate our local artists with plans for a covered pavilion and an open-air space for vendors to set up their tents. There will be an opportunity for donors to get involved and be recognized with their names along the path; email email@example.com if you're interested. The Art Walk will encourage the connectivity and flow of visitors between our waterfront and our downtown shops, restaurants and breweries. The Art Walk project is a public-private partnership between the City of Clermont and the Art Walk LLC with developer Jayson Stringfellow.
Final construction plans are under review to be bid and then presented to City Council for approval.
- PHASE 1 -- CONSTRUCTION HAS BEGUN
Phase 1, which includes West Avenue (Montrose to Osceola streets) & Osceola Street to 7th, has been under construction since Oct. 21, 2019 with an estimated completion of Summer 2020. Osceola Street will be brick paved, while West Avenue will be refinished with asphalt. Landscaping will enhance the streets. Parts of Legacy Loop Trail also will be continued as part of this phase.
You may have noticed temporary fencing go up near the lake and trail in the grassy area between 7th and 8th streets; this is being used as a staging area for the project.
Here's a breakdown of Phase 1's construction phasing and timeline:
- PHASE 2 -- DESIGN COMPLETE
Design plans are 100% complete for Phase 2, which includes Minneola Avenue (7th to 8th streets) & 8th Street (Montrose Street to Osceola Street), Legacy Loop & Meet Us in the Middle Plaza. We plan to construct this in 2020. We are strategizing our bidding schedule based on market conditions.
We are working on plans for a refurbished park at the 8th Street Pier named “Meet us in the Middle” Plaza. After a valuable community feedback meeting, we have gathered residents' ideas and input and are applying them to the design. We envision creating an attractive and lively stop along our South Lake Trail at the 8th Street Pier, next to Lilly’s on the Lake. The plaza would mark and celebrate the half waypoint of the state’s Coast-to-Coast Trail, since Clermont is about 100 miles from each coast. A destination would be created for sports tourist, visitors and event attendees to highlight the center of the trail.
In addition, Legacy Loop Trail and smaller trail projects will encourage South Lake Trail users to come into downtown. The Legacy Loop Trail will be a permanent bypass of the Waterfront from 7th Street to just west of Victory Pointe. This will direct traffic into Downtown and provide a bypass of the VIctory Pointe event area during large events. Part of the trail already has been completed in front of the new Suncreek Brewery and adjoining restaurants.
- PHASE 3 – ON DECK
Phase 3 will cover Montrose Street (West Avenue to Lake Avenue) & City Hall Plaza. We plan to construct it in 2021. Phase 3 will create a focal point at City Hall Park to anchor downtown visitors, making it a destination and a gathering point in the heart of Downtown Clermont.
NEW PUBLIC WORKS BUILDING -- DESIGN NEAR COMPLETION
We also have plans for a new $8-million Public Works Building in a relocated area. The facility currently is being designed and we are approaching 100% plans. In June 2018, the City Council approved the facility's relocation to Hancock Road, along with the purchase of 18 acres. The current facility off of County Road 561 has been in service for over 30 years and is in the far western corner of our service area. It is fully depreciated and will be better located in a more central area of the city’s service area.
Questions? Please call 352-241-7339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.