The Central Florida Regional Planning Council (CFRPC) accepted an Award of Excellence in the Best Practices Category at the American Planning Association (APA) Florida conference in Tampa, FL on September 7, 2016 for the East Lake Parker/West North Combee Areawide Plan. The APA Florida Project Awards program recognizes projects where planning has had a positive impact on the outcome and are scored on innovation, transferability, quality, implementation, and comprehensiveness.
Completed in the fall of 2015, the plan was developed by the CFRPC over a two-year period through public/private partnerships and extensive community involvement to draw attention to the needs of the community and provide a road map for public and private investment. The plan sets the foundation for creating economic recovery and resiliency in the East Lake Parker/West North Combee area of Polk County.
The opportunity to focus attention on this neighborhood came with the Environmental Protection Agency’s nationwide competitive Brownfields Areawide Grant that was awarded to the CFRPC in 2013. Through a partnership with CARE, which is the Combee Area Revitalization Effort, the collaboration developed extensive community-based involvement, local government support, and partnerships with private property owners in the area. Community preference guided all areas of the plan development.
Redevelopment features of the Catalyst Site focused on open spaces with vistas to the lake and pedestrian access to the neighborhood. A conceptual site plan including a land use and pathway plan with renderings included: office, medical, and neighborhood commercial areas, community services, apartment homes, and senior living facilities. Development proposals have already been submitted for the site and work will continue using a Brownfields Assessment Grant and the CFRPC’s Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund to continue redevelopment in the community.
While still in the early stages of implementation, the plan has positive impact on the community through attention from local code enforcement, safer streets through traffic calming and complete street planning, an additional bus stop in a safer, more accessible area for the community, and alternative low impact standards for site redevelopment.
For more information about the East Lake Parker/West North Combee Areawide Plan or the Brownfields Program, visit http://www.cfrpc.org/areawideplanning/ or contact Jennifer Codo-Salisbury, Planning Director, CFRPC, 863-534-7130.