ORLANDO, Fla. - It’s prime real estate, steps away from Lake Eola Park and a few blocks from Orange Avenue in Downtown Orlando. Developers are showing interest in building another high-rise, but some are trying to prevent that.
“You’re adding more density to an area that we’ve set aside for recreation and I think that’s the issue people have, they want Lake Eola to be a green space. They want it to be a place they can recreate. They don’t want to have to fight more traffic and development,” said Patty Sheehan, Orlando City Commissioner District 4.
A nonprofit has been formed to purchase a portion of the land to make it impossible for a major development down the road.
“These parcels adjacent to the park aren’t in the park, so in order to get them in the park, we have to purchase them,” Sheehan said.
Sheehan is getting city approval to donate $50,000 of taxpayer money to the nonprofit to purchase the land.
Lake Eola Park. (FOX 35 Orlando)
The group will demolish the existing building, then give the land to the city to be turned into green space.
“I don’t think there’s anybody who could say they didn’t enjoy Lake Eola Park. This is going to give another entry feature into Lake Eola Park,” Sheehan said.
“If you look around and look at all the people that are here, especially on Sundays for the farmer’s market, I think it will be fantastic,” said Steve Edwards, a Lake Eola Park visitor.
Some are in favor of more park space.
“Green space helps mental health and it makes our City Beautiful, just that,” said Naome Bradshaw, a Lake Eola Park visitor.
But Albert Alicea, with Erban Stylez Barber Lounge, hopes the land isn’t sold.
“There’s so many other options, so many, but they pick the one that best suits them,” said Alicea, barber at Urban Stylez Barber Lounge.
His shop has called the building home for more than 11 years.
The plans call for the building to be demolished.
“We’ve been here. We’d like to stay here,” Alicea said.
The nonprofit has raised $800,000 of $3.5 million needed for the purchase of the land.
Commissioner Sheehan envisions a green space with some type of public art piece.
No official plan has been set for the space.