Hardman Hall (the 1919 building)Work continues on this project. The contractor has finished the masonry work on a section of the south exterior wall that was failing, and the wall was taken down and put back up using the same exterior bricks. The remodeling work funded by the Phase 4 historic preservation grant is now complete, and work on the Phase 5 grant should be completed by the end of June. The phase 6 grant is scheduled to start in July and will focus on the installation of drywall and other improvements on the first floor.
This $4.6 million project is being funded with a combination of grants, CRA funds, and donations, and work has progressed as grant funds have become available. As discussed at the public meetings held in the building last March, $907,236 has been secured toward the remaining $2,373,875 in project costs, leaving $1,466,639 yet to be raised. Dr. Gabe Statom has been hired to assist in the fund-raising efforts and to prepare the programming for the building.
Planning is underway for this building to become:
- The home auditorium of the Lake Wales Chorale and the Youth Chorale;
- A venue for concerts by a variety of artists;
- A music education center, reflecting the long tradition of musical excellence in school band performance.
Rails to TrailsFunding for the second phase of the Rails to Trails project has been awarded by the Office of Greenways and Trails. The grant award of $200,000 is matched with $133,000 from City recreation impact fees, which are restricted funds that can only be spent on the expansion of recreation facilities. This section of the trail will be built from Kiwanis Park to an area west of Buck Moore Road. It is anticipated that the City will hire the contractor for this work with the contract forbidding the use of vibratory compactors. Again, per the ordinance adopted by the City Commission, contractors with unresolved complaints from City residents will not be eligible to compete for this work.
City staff is checking on the possibility of extending the contract with the asphalt company that is doing the City’s resurfacing work for the construction of the trail. A schedule for the project will be released at that time.
The design of this section of the trail will include the construction of a fence for a portion of the north side of the trail, as well as posts at certain points, to discourage motorized vehicle riders.
CSX BuildingThe former high school agriculture building on Scenic Highway near Kissimmee Ave is undergoing a facelift. The exterior of the building is being restored to its original look, and inside the restrooms have been renovated. A visitor welcome center room has also been created, to be staffed by volunteers, for area visitors and persons using the trail. The remainder of the building will continue to be used by the City’s parks and streets divisions for offices and equipment storage. Funding for this project is provided by a historic preservation grant which was matched with insurance proceeds that were used to repair hurricane damage.
Re-development activities on Lincoln AvenueThe Community Re-Development Agency has acquired several properties on Lincoln Ave over the past few years. One of these properties is referred to as the Walker Building at the corner of Lincoln Ave and C Street. The CRA’s re-development contractor, Kimbrough and Associates, is exploring the feasibility of using the building for apartments and offices. Recently the interior furnishings on the first floor were removed. In addition, both the Walker building and the barber shop building (under private ownership) were painted using colors from a palette provided by the architect hired to assist in this project. In addition, across the street from the Walker building, a new meat store has opened.