Lake Eola Master Plan

Last updated on March 31, 2021

Lake Eola skyline

Since its renovation over 30 years ago, Lake Eola Park has become a destination for residents and visitors alike. It is the home of countless events both large and small, an award-winning Farmers Market, and has been a key component of the resurgence of downtown Orlando into the vibrant city center that it is today. Having hosted millions of annual visitors over the last 30 years, the City of Orlando is now working to re-envision the park in anticipation of the next 50 years. This will be accomplished through a new Master Plan process that will not only determine the physical changes needed but will help to guide the park’s place in the context of the larger downtown, city and region.

The Master Plan process will be accomplished through a series of community and stakeholder engagement opportunities, including a citywide survey, as well as virtual community meetings.

The Foundation

First, the project team gathers information about the existing conditions of the park including infrastructure and environmental conditions that could create opportunities or challenges in the future design of the park. In order to understand the needs and desires of the community, the City looks to the residents and key stakeholders to provide ideas for the future of the park and help shape the future master plan. With a baseline of needs and desires established, a series of guiding principles can be developed to help guide the development of the vision of the park.

The Exploration

Shaped by the guiding principles developed, a conceptual master plan will be developed and explored including plans, renderings, architectural character concepts, and materials selections. Throughout the process, concepts will be reviewed by the City Steering Committee and Stakeholders for guidance. Conceptual plans will be presented to the public for further comment.

The Vision

Based on feedback received from the public, a final vision document will be developed showcasing a complete vision for the future of Lake Eola Park.

 

Downtown Context

As the centerpiece park in Downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park influences and is influenced by its downtown context. Lake Eola Park provides opportunities for enjoyment for residents within its 10-minute walk, to those using City bicycle lanes and the Downtown Loop, to those using transit or car from beyond the downtown. In order to best assess the park’s function and needs it is necessary to look at the downtown as a whole.

Existing Park Conditions

In order to gain an understand of how the park currently operates it is important to dissect the parts of the park and how they affect the user experience. Layering these pieces together provides an understanding of what works in the park and what can be improved.

Pre-Design

  • December 2019 - September 2020

Conceptual Master Plan

  • December 2019 - February 2021
  • Public meetings - January 2021
  • Master Plan report - January - February 2021

Final Master Plan

  • February - March 2021
  • Public Meeting - February - March 2021
  • Final Master Plan Report - March 2021

Since its establishment in 1888, Lake Eola Park has served as an iconic symbol for the City of Orlando. Donated by local cattle rancher Jacob Summerlin, the park is protected against future development in perpetuity including a reverter clause transferring the land back to Summerlin’s descendants if the park is ever developed. As a result, the park has served as the backdrop to Orlando’s growth from a small citrus town to a bustling city.

In its early days, the park served as a popular swimming spot known as Sandy Beach, helping residents cool down on Florida’s hot summer days. As the city grew, the park changed and adapted to its growing city. The first Lake Eola fountain was installed in 1912 and was replaced in 1957 by the current Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain.

In 1922, swans were introduced into the park from nearby Lake Lucerne and have since become mascots of the city. Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s, Lake Eola Park was a bustling place with visitors strolling its paths and attending concerts and events.

By the 1980s however, the park had fallen into disrepair with few regular users and a large homeless population affecting the park and surrounding areas. Additionally, pollution started to become a major problem with oil, air conditioning coolants, and debris flowing into the lake with every rain. The city installed filters to help control pollution and plans were put forth to revitalize the park and reinvigorate the downtown. Completed in 1988 at a cost of $3.3 million, the renovation included much of what you see today at the park – wide sidewalks with brick borders, restrooms, and black railings. Also added were the bandshell, Japanese garden with giant marble piece from sister city Taipei, Taiwan, and the Ting, a Chinese pagoda-like structure. The new and improved Lake Eola Park reopened to much fanfare with regular users returning to the park, helping to reinvigorate surrounding neighborhoods.

Fueled by the momentum put into place in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, downtown Orlando has continued to grow and evolve over the last three decades becoming a bustling metropolis attracting visitors worldwide.

Location

512 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL 32801  View Map

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