SITE TALKS CONTINUE
FOR FEDERAL PRISON
County Commissioner Richard Swartz said Lake County may still get a federal prison, but unless public sentiment changes drastically, it won’t be located at the U.S. Highway 27/State Road 19/Florida Turnpike intersection.
County commissioners opted to seek an alternative site after conducting an impromptu poll during a public hearing attended by more than 200 people in Clermont March 29.
A new state law will soon go into effect requiring concurrency, meaning all utilities and roads must be in place before construction of any new development can begin. Because of this new law, and the decision to drop the US 27/SR 19 site from consideration for the prison, development at the site, slated for an expo center, sports complex and/or industrial park, could be delayed for eight to 10 years.
In possibly the first unanimous vote of the South Lake Development Council, members endorsed the proposed federal prison in Lake County on March 20. Three other possible sites were mentioned, although only one was offered. Private developer Bob Mandell of Greater Construction of Orlando reportedly was willing to present a choice of three locations on his 1,700-acre property on the east side of US 27 and south of County Road 561A. Rumored were sites along County Road 474 and near Okahumpka.
LIBRARY CELEBRATES DIAMOND JUBILEE
This week marks Cooper Memorial Library’s 75th anniversary. While we salute the library’s Diamond Jubilee, we should also pay tribute to the driving force behind the library’s continued growth and success for nearly 25 of those years — its current president, Alice Tilden, who is the South Lake Press Citizen of the Month for April.
The library will hold a Diamond Jubilee celebration from 1-4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Plan to tour the former bank building at the corner of Montrose Street and Lake Avenue. Its remodeling was made possible from $80,000 in donations raised by the Library Board in 1980 from the giving people of this community.
April 13 is Transportation Day, and Lake County businessman Dan Eastwood Jr. and his associates hope a proposed, mostly privately funded Central Florida tollway will become more of a reality. The proposed route would run due south from the southeast corner of I-295 in Jacksonville on the Atlantic cost to an intersection with I-75, either north or south of Fort Myers on the west coast. Two alternatives were presented at the South Lake Development Council meeting.
For Lake County, this could mean an eastern edge passage (near Mount Dora, Ferndale and east of Clermont) or a more centrally located stretch passing through the county’s planned recreation and industrial park at US 27/SR19/Florida Turnpike entrance along the Dead River, west of Howey-in-the-Hills and between Clermont and Groveland.