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The City of Ocoee is seeking landscape architecture or engineering design firms to help design major improvements to its Lakefront Park, which is planned to be the main attraction for redevelopment of its urban downtown.

Based on the western shore of Starke Lake, the Lakefront Park improvement project is part of a $45 million public infrastructure investment by the city to help stimulate redevelopment in its downtown.

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The park improvement project has a budget of $4.72 million, and is expected to be built in two phases.

Details on which Orlando-area firm got the job, and what redevelopment projects will be areas of focus in 2017.

Initial design will involve producing an overall site plan for all city-owned property in the immediate area. Parking for the Lakefront Park will be shared with adjacent event venues like City Hall, Lakeshore Center, Withers-Maguire House and Bill Breeze Field. Landscaping and other public space requirements for all these facilities will be addressed in an initial site plan.

Phase 1 design should address the improvements that can be made while City Hall remains in its current location, while Phase 2 would include demolition of the City Hall and construction on the northern side of the park, after city operations have relocated to a new building at the northeast corner of Bluford Avenue and McKey Street.

Improvements forecasted by the city's Downtown Master Plan include an expanded marina and docks, a relocated boat launch and recovery ramp, fishing pier expansion, a new boardwalk, amphitheater, commercial sites for retail and dining, concession spaces and restrooms, and a trailhead.

Other potential additions to downtown may include a splash park and skate park. Littoral plantings and shoreline stabilization is needed along the park, and there is a potential need to acquire some adjacent properties to fully implement the city's vision for a new Lakefront Park.

Insight on how the city's high bond rating gives it the opportunity to pursue a capital infusion that would kick-start work on its downtown redevelopment.

The project will be funded by bond proceeds and other city funds, and will be awarded upon securing the required funding.

The city commission approved $43 million in new infrastructure investments for Downtown Ocoee in late 2016 to promote new development. City staff plan to make presentations to bond rating agencies in March for the downtown redevelopment projects.

This past fall, Ocoee decided to bond out $25 million for infrastructure projects that are expected to revitalize its downtown, along with a relocation of City Hall that would free up valuable land for new development.

Responding firms must be experienced in providing design services for projects of a similar size and scope. The city intends to award one contract to a design firm for the services.

Ocoee's purchasing agent will take written questions on the RFQ through Feb. 21. Qualification packages are due to the city's purchasing office by Feb. 28, and the City Commission is expected to take action on the RFQ selection within 90 days.

Prospective applicants can find RFQ no. 1703 and related documents through Demandstar, VendorLink or the city's website under "Finance/Purchasing."

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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