Osceola County Commissioners voted Monday to spend $1.25 million for a small retail parcel at the entrance to Valencia College's Osceola campus, right across from a main gateway to NeoCity.
The 1.5-acre, triangle-shaped lot is at the northwest corner of the signalized intersection of Denn John Lane and U.S. 192.
Valencia College's Board of Trustees will vote on an interlocal agreement that commits $399,000 toward the purchase, and the city of Kissimmee would split the remaining balance with the county. The Osceola campus is Valencia's fastest growing campus and has seen its enrollment grow by 30 percent since 2008.
Mary Moskowitz, senior transportation planner for the county, told GrowthSpotter the site would be used as a trailhead for the new Toho-Valencia Trail linking downtown Kissimmee to the college campus and technology park.
"The city of Kissimmee has a conceptual plan that shows a bridge at that location," she said. "It would be similar to the bridge over John Young Parkway, but as you know bridges are very expensive. So if it gets built, it might not happen for years."
For the first development phase, the site would likely include trail amenities, such as restrooms and parking, Moskovitz added.
Commissioners agreed earlier this year to allocate funding from its Tourist Development Tax reserves to construct portions of the 30-mile continuous trail between S.R. 535 at Shingle Creek, through Kissimmee and ending at St. Cloud's East Lake Tohopekaliga Lakefront Park.
The $33.5 million project would pay for nearly 14 miles of multi-purpose trails, including the loop in NeoCity and along Neptune Road connecting to Kissimmee's Lakeshore Park.
County Manager Don Fisher has called the trail network a key community asset that would help Belgium-based imec and other employers at NeoCity attract the best talent.
Trails were also a key component in the NeoCity Master Plan by Austin-based Perkins+Will. The plan noted that Denn John Lane has the greatest potential to be a grand public entrance to the district, complete with public art, decorative lighting and a distinctive sign to spur commercial development in NeoCity and on privately owned land that fronts E192.