A $5 million trail along Kissimmee's Shingle Creek could be the main attraction for a proposed mixed use development on John Young Parkway south of downtown.
Daryl Carter, president of Maury Carter and Associates, told GrowthSpotter the 194-acre Yates parcel, which was listed for $7.5 million, is under contract to a developer who plans to rezone the site for residential or mixed-use. The site is currently zoned for highway commercial use, which allows big box retail. Carter said the buyer envisions a mix of single family, multifamily and townhomes on the land.
"We're actually going to be downzoning it," Carter said. "It will be a reduction in intensity, which should please the people in the neighborhood. It will either be residential or a PUD with a mix of commercial and residential."
Carter said he expects the buyer to close on the property in 2017. "It's got to go through the entitlement and permitting process, but it will be sometime next year," he said.
The proximity to the southern leg of the Shingle Creek Regional Trail (SCRT) is an asset, and Carter said the developer would likely build an internal trail system with multiple connections to the linear park.
"It will be a really neat deal," Carter said. "The trail meanders all along Shingle Creek and the lakefront. It's going to be a real amenity for the community and the whole area, just like the West Orange trail is for Winter Garden."
The regional trail project spans 32 miles across both Osceola and Orange counties and through the cities of Orlando and Kissimmee. Senior Planner Randy Schrader is project manager for the Kissimmee portion of the trail, which would continue north along Lake Tohopkalega until it connects to the city's Lakefront Park.
He said the trail would be 14-feet wide, large enough to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The design work is almost complete, and large segments through the Yates property will be elevated. "There will be a lot of boardwalking, because of wetlands and because there are a lot of mature oaks we don't want disturbed," he said.
The SCRT would cross John Young Parkway onto the city-owned Lancaster Ranch property and loop around the future 110-acre city park.
Schrader said the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is negotiating the right-of-way acquisition for the Yates segment. The cost estimate for construction is $5 million.
Mary Moskowitz, trails coordinator for Osceola County, said the project would be eligible for funding from multiple sources, including FDOT and the state environmental lands grants. "It's also eligible for SUNTrails funding," she added.