Lake County’s long-awaited South Lake Regional Park is moving closer to reality.
The Master Plan for the 141-plus acres is complete and plans for grading are underway, said county spokeswoman Elisha Pappacoda.
The county has applied for a permit with the St. Johns River Water Management District to create a stormwater management system for the project, another step toward construction.
A park in the area has been on the county’s agenda for more than 10 years. The chosen county-owned site is in unincorporated Lake County between Groveland and Clermont, south of SR 50 on Max Hooks Road and Cathedral Lane. The timeline for construction is yet to be determined, and design and engineering is scheduled for 2018, Pappacoda said.
Development is planned in three phases from north to south. The first phase includes four youth baseball fields, four softball fields, a cricket field, beach volleyball court and a paddle launch.
Phase 2 includes four more softball fields, four multi-purpose fields, a fitness area, playgrounds, a basketball court and a tennis/pickleball court, as well as parking.
Phase 3 includes two full-sized baseball fields, two more multi-purpose fields, another parking lot and a picnic/passive park. A dog park is also inked in for the third phase.
The land planned for the park lies on the edge of the Green Swamp, and once served as an effluent spray field and a citrus grove at another point in time.
The site is still quite rural, but Groveland itself is on the precipice of a growth spurt as land north of town called Villa City gets its 2,467 acres approved for development, potentially triggering a giant population jump.
South Lake County is one area identified in the county's master plan as needing additional active recreation. The county’s only YMCA is in Tavares, a good distance from Lake Harris.
Clermont, with city limits not far from the future park land, has been on a prolonged growth spurt, creating more and more demand for parks and recreation.