Water-Related News

Tavares debuts new downtown eco-park

TAVARES — City officials on Friday debuted their new Ruby Street Storm Water Improvement and Beautification Plan, a $5.6 million project officials hope will spur economic development.

The 8-acre passive ecological park features man-made ponds designed to treat stormwater runoff. That runoff will be collected and discharged through pipes under Ruby Street into Lake Dora as clean water.

City Administrator John Drury said the stormwater treatment park is part of the city’s master plan for economic development in the Downtown Community Redevelopment Area, designed to lure more people to restaurants, shops and attractions along Ruby Street.

City officials also believe the treatment park will add to the beauty and serenity of Wooton Park and because Lake Dora will be cleaner, more water-related recreational activities could be held there.

But for the last 18 months, construction has taken its toll on surrounding businesses as crews relocated and replaced old underground stormwater pipes with larger ones that connect to the treatment park, replaced chiller lines for Lake County, installed ornamental lighting down the streets leading to the park and block by block, laid red brick pavers along Ruby Street, which can now be closed off as a pedestrian-only promenade for special events.

City officials threw a street party, dubbed Beats on the Brick, to mark the occasion Friday night.