Osceola County Commissioners approved two land deals this week and have a third one pending for a combined total of nearly $5.7 million for future expansions at two county park facilities.
The larger deal is the acquisition of 174.5 acres stretching from the county’s Brownie Wise Park on Tupperware Island all the way to Kings Highway. The $4.36 million purchase contract was approved by consent Monday, and the funds will come out of Park Impact Fee funds for District 4.
“This happened pretty quickly,” Commissioner Cheryl Grieb said. “The land just became available, and we didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to get it. Potentially, there could be a community center there, and it could help with some water quality issues because it’s so close to Lake Toho."
Community Development Director Dave Tomek told GrowthSpotter the county’s Parks Master Plan identified a lack of services in that area, so the timing was fortuitous. The acreage is large enough to include ball fields, open space and a trail link between Brownie Wise Park to Kindred and up to NeoCity via Neptune Road.
“It’s all coming together,” he said. “The first step after we close on the property will be to engage that whole community there. Then we can start planning and design, and we could budget for construction in about 3-5 years."
The county is also wrapping up the first phase of its Osceola Heritage Park expansion up to Fortune Road by coming to terms with all of the remaining adjacent property owners. On June 1, commissioners approved a contract to buy a 4-bedroom home that sits on nearly one acre at 1870 Fortune Rd. for $650,000 plus closing costs.
The commissioners are scheduled to vote June 8 to buy the adjacent 3-bedroom home at 1840 Fortune Rd. for $668,000 plus closing costs.
The sellers will be granted permission to remain on the property rent-free until 2028 and 2026, respectively.
“After this one is purchased, there’s only one property left on Shake Rag Road, and the owners of that have already told us they’ll sell to us," Grieb said.
Tomek said the county has spent much of the last five years buying the dozen or so individual parcels for the future expansion. “So we pretty much have everything, and now we can work on the infrastructure and design,” he said.
The county is also negotiating with Riviera Point Development Group, which was chosen to develop hotels and retail centers at OHP and in NeoCity. The developer had initially proposed building a 300-room Tryp by Wyndham/La Quinta del Sol hotel duo with a combined value of $50 million.
Riviera Point also proposed building a $60 million Radisson Blu conference center hotel with 250 rooms at OHP and a 200-room boutique hotel in NeoCity valued at $40 million.
Tomek said the developer agreement so far is consistent with the plans outlined in the bid package. “They still seem intent on moving forward,” he said. “So far, so good.”