Commissioner: What about market or food hall at new Progress Point?
Sheila DeCiccio asks to bring development ideas forward for new park along Orange Avenue
by Beth Kassab / February 23, 2023
Winter Park City Commissioners agreed Wednesday to push for more urgency in the development of potential retail and business space at Progress Point, a new park under development on the corner of Orange Avenue and Denning Drive.
Commissioner Sheila DeCiccio asked that the board consider putting out requests for development proposals soon and suggested a concept modeled off of the popular East End Market shopping and food hall in Orlando’s nearby Audubon Park Garden District neighborhood.
“I spoke with the businesses on both sides of Orange Avenue … and they want to see this,” she said, noting that Progress Point has the potential to turn that stretch of Orange Avenue into the “next Main Street, but it will not happen if not activated.”
Several small businesses grew into success stories from tiny quarters inside East End Market such as Gideon’s Bakehouse, purveyor of fist-size cookies, which now also has a shop in Disney Springs.
Commissioners agreed to discuss requesting formal proposals in the next month or two along with soliciting new concepts for the old Winter Park Library building, which is now being discussed as potential workforce housing.
The city board also agreed on its lobbying priorities in Washington D.C. this year and added Mead Botanical Gardens and Howell Branch Preserve to its list of parks that would benefit from new federal dollars.
Along with park improvements, commissioners approved another run at acquiring the Post Office property that could expand Central Park along Park Avenue. They would like to see grant dollars to improve stormwater drainage projects in the wake of Hurricane Ian, which brought swift and severe flooding throughout Central Florida in September. City staff noted there would be heavy competition among cities for those dollars.
“How many grants have they actually gotten for us?” asked DeCiccio. “I just want to know what we’re getting for our money.”
City staff responded that lobbyist Jim Davenport of Thorn Run Partners helped secure more than $100,000 for signals at city intersections, which has helped the fire department respond to calls.
Please please consider traffic concerns along Denning at Progress Point. Take a look at the side street along East End Market and the parking that has taken place in a residential neighborhood. It would be wonderful to have an East End Market within walking distance, but parking and traffic should be addressed, unlike the shopping center housing Trader Joe’s where parking is a nightmare!
I’m confused about Commissioner DeCiccio’s request. Some of us who live near this site believed that a plan which included much of what the commissioner is requesting, had been submitted to the City about two years ago and somehow got rejected. Many of us felt the proposal, which also had support from area businesses, would result in a lovely and smart transformation of the blighted area that sat there for so very long. One of the greatest outcomes from the global pandemic is an increased value for outdoor public spaces. A refresh designed to create a new, well-designed park area for the our entire community would be welcome and would also create a gateway to the Garden District. I don’t understand why this plan fell to the wayside and why this is seen as a new idea but I hope this time it moves forward.
I think the food market is a wonderful idea, very community oriented
Ditto what Jill said.
And I think there is a little food grouping down the street. Wouldn’t it be in competition with them? (foxtail, coffee, Swine and Sons, etc.)
Make it an orange grove.
Winter Park hasn’t had an orange grove since Hugh McKean’s grove was sold off to build McMansions on Glenridge.
How come whenever there is land the City always has to go build somethin on it?
Have you been to East End Market lately? If not, drive by there.
It has ruined the surrounding neighborhood which has never been redeveloped like the rest of Winter Park because nobody wants to live near East End Market.
People have signs posted in their yards “No Parking” because the “clientele” of East End is so rude they park right on the neighbors’ front lawns.
Limit any proposed structure footprint to 5,000 sf. for restrooms. There is plenty of coffee, pastries, sandwiches, seafood lunch and dinner, black beans and rice, beer pub etc already available on Orange Avenue. Let’s support those existing businesses. They were there first. Patronize these fine businesses. Make a picnic in the park—in the shade. Let’s support their parking needs as well with the flat lot scheduled for PP. Don’t make the same mistake we’ve seen many times over: the city does not need to take on the role of a retail landlord. Instead, incent our current Orange Ave businesses to thrive and set the stage for new retail ventures to invest on the Avenue—not in precious and limited (under 2 acres) of precious green space. All boats rise—if we honor existing context.
Residents who live in the area surrounding the popular East End Market are irate over the disruption and parking issues in their neighborhood. Inviting the same to occur in the Progress Point area seems unnecessary. Will residents embrace the multilevel parking deck they will get as the solution as this area becomes much more heavily commercial? So much for the idea of a park with surface parking and space for water reclamation. Brace yourselves. Big elections next year. This is the time for signals to be sent to the development community ahead of that election cycle. How big will the commission be willing to go?
An East End market clone is a bad idea, as other posters have mentioned.
Let’s just have a park and a little serenity, instead of adding to the disharmony over-development has already caused.
I am disappointed to hear a push to for development. To my mind, we need to get the park created and encourage the local businesses to provide the commercial elements – not eat park space
Creating new businesses in the park will make for parking problems
Keep the park a park
BEAUTIFICATION NOT ACTIVATION!
What is wrong with a park being a park?
The City should not take on the role of landlord.
Build trellises, pathways and inviting landscaping. Picnics in the park will follow. Plenty of food available on Orange Ave.
Great idea commissioner DeCiccio to ask for ideas and proposals for Progress Point ! I personally would like a few small food shops that would sell coffee, sandwiches etc which would encourage people to visit the park for lunch or in the evening to sit and eat ice cream. A lot of shady trees and places to sit is a must have. I encourage others to come up with ideas and suggestions!
Sally Flynn and others are right. It’s a park, for heaven’s sake. The real concern should be parking, which is in scarce supply.
Let’s make it a significant park-no buildings! Mayor and Commissioners you have an opportunity to give your community a gift that will have enduring value-a really nice park vs. a “postage stamp” of green space. You gave lip service to quality of life and your campaigns, but in the face of an opportunity to provide economic reward, you falter! Listen to these people who suggest that the community around East End market has been adversely affected! The intersection of Orange, Denning and Minnesota is already very dangerous and thoughtful planning can alleviate some of the hazard there. Think about what it would be like for you to live in a condo or an apartment and have no really nice place to be outdoors, walk your dog, or relax outside. Not everyone has the privilege of their own private outside space. Neighbors near this park should have the visual benefit of a beautiful park that would provide a lovely gateway to Winter Park and an effective connection to Mead Gardens.
Instead of a new business office incubator how about a chicken incubator at Progress Point?
It would only need 10 sq ft, not 10,000 or 20,000 sq ft. And kids could stop by and see the eggs hatch and watch the baby chicks!
It would cost the taxpayers a lot less too.
After reading all comments to-date, while I took issue with a number of them, I don’t totally disagree. However, none of them seem to address Commissioner Sheila DeCiccio’s request that, “….the board consider putting out requests for development proposals soon and suggested a concept modeled off of the popular East End Market shopping and food hall in Orlando’s nearby Audubon Park Garden District neighborhood.” Instead, it seems everyone used the East End Market as their stalking horse for arguing against Commissioner DeCiccio’s request. From what I understand, she’s not advocating the City build a replica of East End Market at Progress Point, she is asking that we consider listening to ideas that might include a few of the positives without the negatives. Nothing wrong with that process, in my opinion. As well, given that park space is nonexistent at East End Market, how can one argue it’s an apples-to-apples comparison with the Progress Point plan? I say we support the commissioner’s suggestion.