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9/10 SAT 8:30 | Envisioning a Shared Future; Brick by Brick


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Tom Wodrich …

Tom Wodrich
Erin Tilghman
Jennifer Stults

The opening of the newest major theme park
in Florida, LEGOLAND Florida, has provided unique challenges for community planners, business owners, and residents in the existing communities. In anticipation of the tremendous opportunities yet potential threats to the way of life
here, planners from multiple jurisdictions gathered community leaders together to discuss the key issues such as infrastructure, traffic, signage/wayfinding, and improved pedestrian/transit accommodation in order to create a vision for the future of a community influenced by an anticipated 1.5-2 million visitors per year.

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  • 2. Location, Location, Location…
  • 3. History
    1936 – Cypress Gardens opens
    Florida’s 1st commercial tourist theme park
    Became water ski capital of the world
    US 27 was major North/South artery through the state
    1959 - I-4 construction begins (completed in the late 1960s)
    1971 - Disney World opens (shifting tourist focus away from US 27)
    2003 – Cypress Gardens closes after prolonged tourism decline Within 3 ½ months, a grass-roots effort from all 50 states and 27 countries raised USD 13,500,000 and saved the park
    2009 – Cypress Gardens closes for good
    2010 – LEGOLAND announces
    Winter Haven location (park opens October 15)
  • 4. How is LEGOLAND different?
    Park open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    Closed Tuesday &Wednesday
    Primary Target:
    Families with kids ages 2-12 only
    Single day park usage
    2 hour drive (overnight?)
    $5,000,000 over 10 years
    Expedited permits/review
  • 5. The LEGOLAND Location Challenge
    22 miles from I-4
    57 miles from the Florida Turnpike Mainline
    Visitors travel through multiple jurisdictions along US 27
    Studies show unattractive road corridors (visual/signage clutter, lack of pedestrian amenities, strip development, etc.) impede new investment.
    What impressions will our visitors return home to share?
  • 6. 2
    Corridor Planning for
    • Previous Planning Efforts
    • 7. Selected Area Plans
    US 27
    Ronald Reagan
    North Ridge
    • Community Redevelopment Areas
    • 8. Ongoing Corridor Planning & Collaboration
    • 9. Working with cities along US 27 to develop a gateway plan
  • 10. East Polk County Planning Studies
    North Ridge CRA
    US 27 Corridor Study
    Cypress Gardens Boulevard Corridor Plan
    North Ridge CRA US 27 Corridor Study
    US 27 & SR 60 Corridor Studies
    Potential Applicability
    Blvd Corridor
  • 11. Common Issues and Concerns
  • 12. "Legoland is the magic word in Winter Haven," said Bob Gernert, executive director of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce.
    Polk County's tourism industry received a major jolt in January with the announcement that Legoland Florida would replace Cypress Gardens.
    Legoland to Begin Hiring 1,000 Workers Soon
    Businesses Urged to Prepare for Legoland Visitors
    Cynthia Cross, 62 and a retired teacher, said Legoland will be good for Winter Haven, especially for motels, gas stations and restaurants. "But I just don't see how it's going to trickle down to the rest of us," she said.
  • 13. Eagle Lake can lure tourists, a county official told city commissioners. "We've got plans coming out the wazoo," he said. "When we get businesses to locate here, then we can do some serious planning.“
    Croes said building those extra services is "the chicken and the egg:" Winter Haven won't be able to become its own destination until investment is made in a cluster of family-friendly attractions that keep people in Winter Haven after the park closes. But he said investors are not going to make that kind of investment in Winter Haven until Legoland proves it can bring the people. RoberticoCroes, associate professor of tourism, events and attractions at the University of Central Florida
  • 14.
  • 15. What Would You Buy?
  • 16.
  • 17. Why Plan?
    LEGOLAND = Golden Opportunity
    Planning = Investment Strategy
    Infrastructure Promotes Growth
    Minimize the Tax Burden
    Doing More With Less = Partnering is Vital
    City Participation
    Involve Key Stakeholders
  • 18. Goals of Study
    Identify strategies to ensure that US 27 serves as a premiere corridor within Polk County.
    Enhance property values and cultivate economic development.
    Identify visual blight as well as access management, connectivity, and wayfinding deficiencies.
    Improve transit and pedestrian/bicycle access and usage.
    Work with municipalities to create a coordinated approach to land use and quality development standards.
  • 19.
  • 20. Vision Statement
    Fully leverage the opportunities associated with the development of LEGOLAND Florida;
    Support sustainable use of limited land and public resources by encouraging higher densities, multi-modal transportation access, mixed use developments, and housing options;
    Protect, preserve, and enhance natural resources;
    Coordinate planning efforts between Polk County, the City of Winter Haven, the FDOT, significant property owners, and other interested parties/agencies;
    Provide safe and convenient access to shopping, housing, and essential services;
    Support the development of a positive visual character for the City by promoting a high degree of compatibility between land uses and by maintaining a standard for quality development; and
    Elevate the level of economic development through repositioning the corridor to accommodate new growth, changes in demographics, and the adaptation of the local economy.
  • 21. Existing Conditions - Development
  • 22. Existing Conditions – Land Use
  • 23. Existing Conditions - Landscaping
  • 24. Existing Conditions - Signs
  • 25. Existing Conditions - Design
  • 26. Existing Conditions - Transportation
  • 27. Regional Wayfinding Signs
  • 28. Local Signs
  • 29. Access Management
  • 30. Multi-modal Transportation
    Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities
    Access Management
  • 31. Pre-Construction
  • 32. Construction
  • 33. To Be Continued….
  • 34. Contact Information
    Erin Tilghman, AICP
    City of Winter Haven
    Jennifer Stults, AICP
    Florida Department of Transportation
    District One
    Tom Wodrich, AICP
    Polk County Office of Planning & Development