P&Z OKs Henderson Hotel

P&Z OKs Henderson Hotel

P&Z OKs Henderson Hotel

by Anne Mooney / January 8, 2021

A redesigned 132-room Henderson Hotel received approval on a 4-3 vote from Planning & Zoning Jan. 5 – 6. The luxury hotel on the eastern shore of Lake Killarney will feature a 7,500 square foot ballroom and a 220-seat restaurant. The $50 million Henderson project was the final agenda item, closing a marathon 7-hour meeting that went well past midnight into Jan. 6.

After the project was tabled last year, developer Adam Wonus and architects Baker Barrios sent the Henderson Hotel back to the drawing board. Despite the addition of 20 rooms, the size of the building was reduced from 210,522 square feet to 129,100 square feet by placing one level of garage parking underground. The footprint of the building will now allow approximately 44 percent of the total land area to be open green space.

Multiple Concessions Requested

The application includes a request for Conditional Use and multiple requests for amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and the Zoning Code. The proposed 2.97-acre site is an aggregate of several parcels, seven of which are currently zoned residential R1A. Four of the residential parcels have lakefront access. Two other parcels are zoned office. The application seeks to change all these zoning designations to commercial C3 and Open Space Recreational.

The Henderson application also seeks approval to vacate portions of Killarney Drive and Fairview Avenue in order to provide access to the lakefront. The hotel will be set back from the lake 84 feet at the closest point, and the developer proposes to create more than an acre and a half of open space and parkland and to provide public access to a pedestrian viewing dock they plan to build.

Public Comment Sharply Divided and Very Long

There were in excess of 50 public comments, lasting four-plus hours, and they were more or less evenly divided between those who were enthusiastically in favor of the project and those who were vehemently opposed to it. If there was anyone in the middle ground, they remained silent.

The two opinion pieces that accompany this article are representative of the differing views of this project.

Those who like it

Those in favor see the proposed hotel as an amenity for the city, and point out that the Henderson would be the only lakefront hotel in Winter Park. They appreciate the Victorian-style architecture that is reminiscent of the old hotels that were here at the beginning. They look forward to having a place to celebrate special occasions or just have a nice dinner out. The Henderson would provide residents an alternative to the Alfond Inn for visiting friends and relatives. Most seemed to regard the hotel more as a part of the commercial area along 17-92, which needs revitalization, and less a part of the interior neighborhood adjacent the lake. Commenters in favor included a number of residents from the Killarney neighborhood.

And those who don’t

Those who spoke in opposition were concerned about the size of the project and the violation of the Comprehensive Plan provision to, “Protect Single-Family Residential Use in the Killarney Neighborhood from Non-Residential Land Use Encroachment.” Concerns were raised about the subterranean parking garage, which is in close proximity both to the lakefront and to Hillstone Restaurant, and commenters worried about adverse effects to the lake and surrounding properties from the traffic, light and noise a hotel/restaurant/ballroom facility would produce.

Next step – City Commission

Having received the nod from P&Z, the Henderson Hotel application will proceed for a first reading to the City Commission on January 27, 2021.

 

Open Letter to Candidates for Mayor

Where Do You Stand on the Henderson Hotel?

Guest Columnist Beth Hall

Editor’s Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.

Qualifying for the Winter Park mayor’s race has begun. Two candidates, Phil Anderson and Sarah Sprinkel, have long been declared candidates for the gavel. Not even a pandemic can stop a city election, so zoom rooms, patios and even living rooms are filling with the pitches of the candidates in their attempts to win your vote.  The air, followed by city mailboxes, will begin to fill with candidates’ promises to “protect the traditional charm and character of Winter Park,” as they do every time there is a race for a commission seat.

Henderson Hotel provides a litmus test

Usually, we voters simply must take them at their word. But this year, a litmus test is available to us on this promise right now. That test is the application of Winter Park Historic Hotels Group to build the Henderson Hotel – and where the candidates stand on the issue.

On Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, the Winter Park Planning and Zoning Board heard the request of Adam Wonus and the Winter Park Historic Hotels Group to build a 132-room, five-story, 129,100 square foot hotel and event center with a 205-space subterranean garage on the shores of Lake Killarney. Seven of the lots which comprise the hotel site are currently zoned single family R1A, and four of these have direct lake frontage. The hotel site is next to Hillstone Restaurant but unlike Hillstone, the hotel would have no frontage on 17-92.

P&Z Votes in Favor

P & Z voted 4-3 to recommend construction of the behemoth in the middle of a quiet, lakefront residential neighborhood, essentially taking a blow torch to the city’s Comprehensive Plan. The number of provisions in the Comp Plan which prohibit this type of development is this place are too numerous to count. But the one that objecting neighbors relied upon most heavily to guard their rights to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes was Policy 1-J-9.

Policy 1-J-9 reads:

Protect Single-Family Residential Use in the Killarney Neighborhood from Non-Residential Land Use Encroachment. The City shall preserve and protect the single-family residential land use within the Killarney neighborhood from commercial and office encroachment, excluding parcels that have or obtain Parking Lot (PL) zoning designation along the edges where commercial, office and residential meet. All development should include appropriate landscape buffers, including walls if necessary, so as not to have a negative impact on the residential neighborhood.

Will the Killarney neighborhood lose its residential flavor?

In my opinion the hotel will change the residential flavor of this neighborhood forever, as it would allow the penetration of light, sound, traffic, and more into this neighborhood.   The building would dwarf its surroundings at heights of up to 73 feet. Meetings, parties, weddings and other celebrations will be allowed at the hotel, which is a 24/7 operation by definition. And all on a site that includes six residential homes, one of which is currently occupied. The nearest neighbors live directly across the street.

Where do Anderson & Sprinkel stand?

What do the current candidates for mayor think about this project? They cannot vote on it, but they can tell voters where they stand. Neither spoke at Tuesday’s P & Z meeting. Without question, the most important role of the commission is to make land use decisions in our city. Where do they stand? I don’t know, but I sure would like to know before I cast my vote. Whether you are for approval of the project or against it, wouldn’t you like to know too? I ask them to inform voters of their position on this project. Now.

 

Support for the Henderson Hotel

A Winter Park Community Asset

Guest Columnist Craig Castor

Editor’s Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.

My wife Sarah and I are both long time Winter Park Residents. We moved into our current home on Lake Killarney almost 20 years ago. While that time has gone by a little too fast for my taste, we have both loved seeing how our community has evolved over the years. With time comes change, but that positive change seems to have missed the area where the proposed Henderson Hotel is planned.

This area, between Hillstone restaurant and the Palm Hills (former Ranch Mall) development, has remained run down and is in need of upgraded redevelopment to come up to Winter Park standards. In fact, at this week’s Planning and Zoning meeting, a fellow Lake Killarney resident mentioned having to take drug paraphernalia out of his young daughter’s hands during their walk in the area. I can only say, I am not surprised.

I am writing to express not only my enthusiastic support, but also my excitement for The Henderson Hotel at Lake Killarney. This project will completely revitalize a forgotten area of Winter Park by removing dilapidated buildings and adding a park space to an area that is hardly walkable at this time.

Henderson is a 17-92 project.

As I sat listening to the presentation of the proposed Henderson Hotel at the Planning and Zoning meeting January 5, 2021, I was struck by what Ross Johnston and some other board members noted about this project. This project is a 17-92 project.  It is not a project that is in the Killarney Neighborhood.  This project is a Winter Park community project.

Public Outreach

The Henderson Hotel has been painstakingly planned and is a result of an unprecedented outreach by the developers to the neighborhood and to the entire community.  My wife and I first learned about the project some three or four years ago and over that time we have been asked to share our views on how to make the project better, more environmentally sustainable and more sensitive to the surroundings.

Timeless Asset

The end result is that the proposed Henderson Hotel project takes into account the wants, concerns and views of the overall community and the neighborhood regarding cut-through traffic, creating a safer environment for the families that live in the neighborhood, creating a neighborhood park, reducing lake traffic by eliminating the deteriorating docks, cleaning up the lakeshore and reducing debris coming into the lake to improve the overall health of the lake. It is incredible that one project can do all of this and also be a beautiful addition to Winter Park. If you have not had a chance to take a closer look at this project, I urge you to do so as we have a great opportunity to add a timeless asset to our community!

 

 

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Hi-End Auto Seeks WP Home

Hi-End Auto Seeks WP Home

Hi-End Auto Seeks WP Home

Or, when is a car not ‘just a car’?

Editor's Note: Articles written by citizens reflect their own opinions and not the views of the Winter Park Voice.  

Guest Columnist Douglas Bond / December 6, 2020

Douglas Bond is a Winter Park car enthusiast.

What types of businesses would you like to see in Winter Park? Innovative? Elegant? Exotic?

McLaren Orlando LLC is seeking permission to open a dealership at the former Orchard Supply store on 17-92 and Orange Ave., which has been vacant since Orchard Supply closed their stores about two years ago.

For those unfamiliar with McLaren cars, they are hand-made in Surrey, England, and have a long racing history. McLaren cars are extremely high end and rare; there are only 21 McLaren dealerships in the United States. Fewer than 1,500 cars per year are sold here – at prices that range from $300,000 ‑ $500,000 per car, with some rare older models bringing over a million dollars. McLaren is looking to convert the empty Orchard Supply building into a luxury car boutique. They intend to enhance the look of the building and increase the green space around it.

There has been concern about the McLaren dealership going into that space. Neighbors worry about cars racing the streets during test drives, and they don’t want the extra traffic a dealership might bring.

A prospective buyer has to jump through a series of hoops to even test drive a McLaren. Test drives are by appointment only and are granted on a very limited basis. Potential buyers must go through an application process before they are awarded an appointment to test drive a car. Test drivers will be accompanied by a sales rep and will be required to observe all local and city laws and speed limits.

A McLaren dealership would not bring the extra traffic a normal car dealership would attract. The number of employees on site would range from 10 to12 – far fewer employees than the garden supply store the building originally housed. While the facility will service existing McLarens, only two to three cars can be serviced on a given day.

The total number of cars on site would be 20 or fewer, with most of those being on display in a showroom. None of the cars will be outside. Rather than being shipped by big 18-wheelers, the McLarens will arrive one at a time in an enclosed single-vehicle transport. No big trucks will be clogging up the streets or making excessive noise.

The City should be selective about what goes here, but it should not turn away a business that will enhance Winter Park. Since McLaren is not a conventional car dealership, it will cause less congestion and will be more attractive than other businesses such as a fast food restaurant, strip mall or storage units, all of which have been considered for this site. To have McLaren select Winter Park for this facility is an honor, and with the property improvements McLaren is planning to make, their car boutique will only add to the beauty and charm of our city.

EDITOR’S NOTE: McLaren Orlando LLC came before the Planning & Zoning Board on December 1, 2020, to request a Zoning Code text change to establish a new Conditional Use and definition for ‘Specialty Transportation Business,’ which they would use to put a McLaren auto dealership at the former Orchard Supply store on 17-92 and Miller Ave.

Because the original Orchard Supply store was permitted with a “warehouse” designation, it lacks the necessary parking capacity for either retail or office and, as a result, has remained vacant since it closed two years ago.

Both City staff and the Planning & Zoning Board have recommended denial of McLaren’s application to put their dealership in that location. The Comprehensive Plan specifically restricts any type of automotive business to locations north of Webster Ave., west of Denning Drive, East of Bennett and on the west side of Wymore north of Lee Road.

Winter Park does have its car enthusiasts, however, and one gentleman who would love to see a McLaren dealership go in where Orchard Supply used to be reached out to the Voice (see above).

Even though both the City and P&Z recommended denial of McLaren’s application, according to McLaren’s attorney Mary Solik, McLaren will proceed to submit their application to the City Commission at the January 13, 2021 meeting.

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Henderson Hotel Stalled

Henderson Hotel Stalled

Henderson Hotel Stalled

Defect in City-wide Public Notice Delays P&Z Hearing

by Anne Mooney / November 24, 2020

The Winter Park Planning Department announced they have postponed a December 1st Planning & Zoning (P&Z) hearing on the controversial Henderson Hotel at Lake Killarney until after the holidays. The P&Z hearing now will take place Tuesday, January 5. If P&Z approves the project, it will go to the Commission for a first reading and public hearing January 27th and a second reading on February 10th.

The postponement stems from a defect in the Public Notice that was published in the November 1st Orlando Sentinel. Property at 1310 Fairview Ave. was omitted from the Public Notice. Included instead was property at “1310 Grove Ave.,” which does not exist.

The mistake, the result of a City staff error, involves a large parcel at 1310 Fairview that is slated to become a park, a portion of which will also form the roof of the subterranean parking garage that will serve the hotel.

The Henderson Hotel project first came before the City in February 2019, but the application was later withdrawn after a deal to acquire land on 17-92 from Hillstone’s Restaurant fell through.

 

Hotel Redesigned

This fall, revised plans for the five-story Victorian style hotel were submitted to the City for the three-acre site on Lake Killarney. The new design features a restaurant and bar, ballroom, increased green space, subterranean parking, a reduction in overall building size from 210,522 square feet to 129,100 square feet (not including the garage) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The hotel will be set back 84 feet from Lake Killarney and 145 feet from 17-92.

The developer, Winter Park Historic Hotels Group, is requesting changes to the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map, vacation of portions of Killarney Drive and Fairview Avenue and a Conditional Use Approval. The hotel has gone from 118 to 132 rooms and ranges in height from 55 to 73 feet. The developer is asking to rezone to C3 Commercial four residential lake-front lots and two parcels zoned office. Although the number of rooms has gone from 118 to 132, the amount of parking went from 245 spaces in 2019 to 235 spaces in 2021.

 

Winter Park Land Trust not involved in the Henderson project

In return for these concessions, Winter Park Historic Hotels Group plans to offer an easement to just under an acre of land on Fairview Ave. for use as a public park. Some confusion, however, has been created by the Henderson Hotel website www.hendersonhotelwinterpark.com which implies involvement of the Winter Park Land Trust. According to the WPLT that is not the case.

 

Winter Park Land Trust issued the following statement.

“The Winter Park Land Trust was established to create more park space and green space in our city, and to help ensure that we keep the green space we already have. One method of doing so in this city that is already extensively developed is for the WPLT to accept conservation easements over green space that is to be included as part of redevelopment projects such as those being considered on the Orange Avenue Overlay and adjacent to Lake Killarney.Conservation easements are permanent restrictions preventing the future development of green space. It should be clear, however, that the WPLT does not endorse or support development projects even when the developer may be contemplating the donation of a conservation easement.

We have not endorsed the Henderson Hotel project. Negotiation to include open space within a development is the province of the City. WPLT can help ensure that such green space is permanent, but we will accept an easement only after:

    • A project has been approved by P&Z and the City Commission
    • A developer provides us with specific plans for the proposed green space
    • The agreement has been reviewed by the appropriate WPLT committees and legal counsel
    • The WPLT Board of Trustees has voted to accept the easement.

None of these steps has been taken for the Henderson Hotel.”

 

Neighbors divided. On the one hand . . .

David Brenner, a Lake Killarney Dr. resident, said he thought the Henderson seems like it would be a good building for Winter Park. “We were initially concerned about the impact on the lake,” said Brenner. “But when we went to the public forum at the Farmer’s Market a couple of years ago, we were very impressed that [Henderson Hotel developer] Adam Wonus  wants to reach out to people who live in Winter Park. We don’t need another Trader Joe’s with the parking and traffic nightmare. If we could get a world class hotel that draws from the history of Winter Park, it would be a great. Adam is listening and trying to make his project work in a way that makes people happy.”

Charles Brenner, who has lived on Killarney Dr. for more than 50 years and is the father of David Brenner, said the health of the lake is the most important thing to him. He looks forward to Wonus’s plans to clean up the eastern side of the lake, which is quite shallow. “A lot of trash comes into the lake from 17-92,” said Brenner, “and that side of the lake has long been neglected. I look forward to it being cleaned up, which Adam and his company plan to do. This is a situation similar to the Alfond, where we have the opportunity for a beautiful project, which will be a great thing for the city.”

 

On the other hand . . .

In a letter to Commissioner Marty Sullivan, Lake Killarney neighbor Jim Cunningham wrote, “. . .the hotel project is beautiful, and for that reason I wish I could get behind it, but I can’t. . . . I see a correlation between the city’s longing for this project and the German version [of the Cinderella story]. You remember that after Cinderella lost her glass slipper, a search was made throughout the land to find the woman whose foot fit the slipper. When the prince came to Cinderella’s house, the evil stepsisters were willing to cut off their toes to try to make their over-sized feet fit into the slipper, leaving the slipper covered in blood.”

Cunningham continued, “This project is beautiful . . ., but the hotel is not a good fit for the neighborhood. Changing all the city’s ordinances, codes and Comp Plan in an effort to cram this project into a residential neighborhood is reminiscent of the stepsisters’ willingness to do whatever it took to make the slipper fit. . . . The project, as currently conceived, is not a fit for our lakefront community. No amount of ‘cutting off toes’ will change that.”

A group of citizens has put up a website opposing the Henderson project at www.nohendersonhotel.com

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Single Member Districts Fails

Single Member Districts Fails

Single Member Districts Fails

Tie Vote on 1st Reading Spells Failure – for now

by Anne Mooney / November 12, 2020

With only four Commissioners present at the November 11 meeting, the ordinance to put Single Member Districts (SMD) to a vote on the March 9, 2021, ballot failed on a 2 – 2 vote. Commissioners Marty Sullivan and Sheila DeCiccio voted in favor. Mayor Steve Leary and Vice Mayor Carolyn Cooper voted against. Commissioner Todd Weaver was absent because of illness.

Ironically, the measure failed twice. First, Cooper moved to deny putting the measure on the ballot. Cooper and Leary voted for; Sullivan and DeCiccio voted against. Immediately following, Sullivan moved to approve putting the measure on the ballot – with the same result.

The Devil is in the Details

Changing the basis of a city’s governance, one that seems to have served the city well for more than 130 years, is complicated – and scary. Just the thought of change can cause anxiety in most people.

That’s not to say change is bad, or that a city can’t change its mode of governance. But it is a difficult and complex task, one that does not happen quickly or easily. Each question seems to give rise to five others. How will districts be drawn? Who will draw them? What data is available to do this in an equitable way? After all, the most recent Census data is now 10 years old. What happens if we annex another neighborhood? What if no candidate files to run in a particular district? In the case of SMD, more than most, the devil is in the details.

Voters Still Want Info about SMD

Despite its defeat last night, email and Facebook traffic indicate that Winter Park voters still want information about what SMD might mean for Winter Park. At a virtual information session conducted by the Coalition for Access and Representation (CFAR) Monday night, Jamie Joyce of the Society Library, a non-partisan non-profit 501(c)(3), presented a white paper that laid out the arguments for and against SMD in Winter Park. The event, including the white paper, can be viewed here. https://www.facebook.com/Coalition-For-Access-and-Representation-CFAR-103882477624971/ What follows is a summary of the arguments Ms. Joyce presented for and against SMD in Winter Park.

Winter Park should have Single Member Districts, because . . .

It promotes civic engagement.
District elections might improve community participation if candidates are more engaged with a particular community. Under-represented constituents will be more likely to participate if they know they are truly represented.

Con: All commissioners should be accountable to all citizens. With SMD, a citizen will technically have only one representative, plus the Mayor, on the commission.

SMD improves racial diversity in representation.
SMD will give Winter Park residents the opportunity to elect a person of color.

Con: In any fairly drawn district in terms of population size, the Winter Park African American population would not achieve a majority. The opportunity to elect a person of color to the Commission is not dependent on SMD, but on the qualifications and appeal of the individual candidate.

SMD improves economic diversity of representation.
Because it is less expensive to campaign in a single district, people at a lower income can afford to run for office.
SMD improves geographic representation.
Single member districts ensure geographic representation.

Con: Geographic representation, in and of itself, still may not ensure representation for under-served ethnic populations like Winter Park African Americans who, because of West Side gentrification, are no longer concentrated in a single small area.
What’s to lose?
If the ordinance is put on the ballot, then it’s up to the voters to decide, freeing the Commissioners from having to make the decision.

Con: Winter Park voters are not educated on this issue; it’s a waste of their time.

Answer to the Con: Then educate them; it’s their civic duty to become informed.

Answer to the answer: Four months is too little time, especially without knowing what the districts would look like.
SMD makes Commissioners more accountable.
Commissioners can be more easily held accountable by localized citizens.

Con: Only the mayor and one Commissioner will be accountable to any given citizen, thereby reducing accountability of the Commission as a whole.
SMD ensures localized issues will receive attention.
Commissioners would be more in touch with issues affecting their constituents.

Con: This will lead to Commissioners putting localized issues ahead of the needs of the whole City.
Builds more effective constituent relationships.
SMD improves overall responsiveness to local issues.

Con: Winter Park Commission already performs well in response to constituent concerns.
Makes elections more free and fair.
Because the cost of a single-district campaign is less, there would be less reliance on contributions from special interests.

Con: Because the cost of a single-district campaign is less, it will be easier for special interests to ‘buy’ an election.
SMD is a more progressive form of government.
Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg cited at large voting, along with racial gerrymandering, as a preeminent second-generation way to deny equal opportunity for minority voters and candidates. A number of local jurisdictions in FL and across the country who traditionally used at large systems have faced federal lawsuits to force a switch to a district-based system as part of the Voting Rights Act.

Con: At just over 7 percent, the minority population of Winter Park is too small for SMD to make any difference.
If we don’t vote on it now, we’ll miss the chance.
If the Commission does not put this ordinance on the ballot now, they are unlikely to consider it again unless some special circumstance arises.

Con: It is still possible to put the ordinance on the ballot through a petition. There is still time to conduct enough information sessions to inform the public.

 

Winter Park should not have Single Member Districts, because . . .

It’s not the right time.
This is an emotional time for the country, and decisions about government should not be swayed by emotion.

Con: There are good non-emotional reasons to support the ballot initiative.
It won’t achieve the goals it was meant to achieve.
If the goal is to increase the chances of electing an African American commissioner, in any fairly drawn district in terms of population size, the African American population of Winter Park could not achieve a majority, if that’s what it takes to ensure the election of an African American commissioner.

Con: Just because SMD will not ensure the election of an African American commissioner does not mean SMD still is not best for the city and won’t lead to increased diversity in city government.
The electorate doesn’t really want it.
Vice Mayor Cooper noted she had received more than 230 emails from residents about backyard chickens, compared with 26 emails about SMD (five of which came from people who were not Winter Park residents).

Con: Emails to the Vice Mayor is only one indicator. CFAR’s Barbara Chandler has collected more than 100 signatures in support of the motion.
All groups are fairly represented in Winter Park.
Historically, candidates, both successful and failed, have come from fairly distributed parts of the city.

Con: No African American has been elected to the Commission in 133 years.
It’s the wrong cause.
Not enough ethnically and economically diverse candidates are running for office in Winter Park.

Con: It’s likely because of how expensive it is to campaign at large. SMD will make running for office more accessible to residents of various income levels, identities and backgrounds.
SMD is not how cities our size do things.
At-large elections tend to be more practical in small cities and in more homogeneous areas.

Con: Several Central Florida cities in Winter Park’s size range have SMD, including Ocoee, Cocoa, Mt. Dora, Sanford and Winter Garden.
At-large elections are more democratic.
At-large elections allow all residents to vote for all commission candidates.

Con: Democratic institutions have a duty to protect minority groups from disenfranchisement and under-representation by majority rule.
SMD will make the Commission less effective.
SMD may encourage in-fighting, vote-trading and competition among districts for city resources.

Con: The efficacy of the Commission depends upon the quality and character of the individuals who are elected.
SMD will give voters fewer options.
Voters will have a smaller pool of candidates from which to choose.

Con: The options they do have will be more likely to represent their interests.

Asked for her thoughts on the outcome of last night’s Commission vote, CFAR’s Barbara Chandler replied, “. . . this is considered more delaying.”

For more information about SMD, go to http://cfarvote.com/cfar-home-mobile/

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Raising the Roof

Raising the Roof

Raising the Roof

Library-Events Center Reaches Milestone

by Anne Mooney / October 30, 2020

A group of 50 or so dignitaries gathered this morning, October 30, to celebrate the ‘topping out’ of the Winter Park Library & Events Center. This important milestone – the signing and hoisting of the final roofbeam — signifies that the structural skeleton of the building is now complete. Representatives of the Winter Park Public Library, the construction and the architectural firms and major donors joined the Mayor and Commissioners to place their signatures on the beam.

The signing and hoisting of a roofbeam is an ancient practice dating back thousands of years. Some describe origins from pre-medieval Scandinavian cultures, some refer to native American practices, and still others hark back to 2700 BC Egypt. The ceremony marks the completion of the building’s skeleton, and the beam is symbolic of the upper-most piece going into place as the building reaches its full height.

David Odahowski, President & CEO of the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, a major donor to the Library-Events Center, affixes his signature to the beam.

Via Skype, design architect Sir David Adjaye said to the assembled crowd, “Today’s topping out ceremony represents a huge milestone in the completion of the Winter Park Library & Events Center. The power of this project is that it represents another prototype, another version of what the library has evolved into – the library as a campus of knowledge. Once completed, the new complex will bring together knowledge and community facilities to make a village, a hamlet of knowledge.”

“The new Library & Events Center in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, will not only activate reading, imagination and creativity,” said Winter Park Public Library Board of Trustees President Lawrence Lyman, “it will be transformative for our community. . . . I couldn’t be more thrilled that the library’s vision has been brought to life by such a masterful architect.”

The grand opening of the Winter Park Library & Events Center is expected in the Fall of 2021.

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