Thornton Park residents fight for park land

A developer has its eye on Consitution Green Park in Downtown Orlando, and residents in the area aren't happy about it.

One oak tree in particular is estimated to be somewhere between 125 to 175 years old.

"We come here almost every single day as long as the weather permits," said Debbie Shan.

Shan is just one of many downtown residents who enjoy the little slice of green in the urban area.

Resident Carry O'Neal said he visits two to three times a day.

"It's kind of a quiet, secluded little park," O'neal said. "The trees are absolutely beautiful. Everybody gets along. It's just a great neighborhood park."

But, the face of this area may soon be changing.

"Constitution Green was something that has popped up on my radar, said Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan." A developer came in interested in developing the site."

Though it's a city park, the city doesn't own the land. It has been leasing it for close to three decades.

"It is privately owned," Sheehan said. "I want to work with the Thornton Park Business District to see if there's any way we can afford to purchase it."

Residents here hope the city finds a way to buy and preserve their beloved park.

"I don't think we need any more developments in the area going on; especially in urban areas, you need preserved green spaces," Shan said.

"It's a shame that because of all the land that they've given up in Downtown Orlando that they would give up this park, and also, these trees that are historic now," O'Neal said.

Sheehan said the city may have to get creative when it comes to figuring out how to come up with the money to purchase the land, but she's hopeful.

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