ORLANDO LAND TRUST
Created to celebrate and advance a healthy, livable community for generations to come, the Orlando Land Trust was established as a means for improving and protecting parks, playgrounds and green spaces for all Orlando residents. The importance of creating or preserving a place that can bring us together and spark and sustain important interactions between people and celebrate the bond of place is essential to the quality of life in Orlando. Green spaces improve our physical and psychological health by encouraging exercise and offering tranquility, relaxation, and refuge from the hustle and bustle.
Orlando’s heart of the city, Lake Eola Park, started out as a vacant tract of land with a small lake. Through the generosity of Jacob Summerlin and his family in 1883, the city was gifted the tract with particular restrictions that the property be preserved as a park in perpetuity. Summerlin envisioned a beautiful, serene setting around which Orlando would grow and feature gardens, trees, and a path. It was the addition of the lake fountain in 1912 that changed Lake Eola Park forever. Generations of families and visitors have enjoyed the natural beauty of the lake, the park, the wildlife, and the variety of activities that occur annually. It is truly the centerpiece of “The City Beautiful.”
Where are we today? Growth and development are familiar sights to Orlando’s residents. The city’s downtown core has several buildings over 30 stories, compared to 1971 when Disney World opened and the highest was just 10 stories. Office and condominium high-rises have dominated projects encroaching closer and closer to Lake Eola Park, potentially closing it off visually. Preservationists are concerned that, with time, green spaces and lower-height buildings surrounding Lake Eola Park will be redeveloped with high-rises far exceeding the recommendations of the Project Downtown Orlando Vision Plan (DTO Vision Plan) and the Downtown Orlando Outlook (DTOutlook) of 2015.