Orlando's Grand Avenue Park Chosen
The National Recreation and Park Association and the City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Department announced that Grand Avenue Park has been chosen for the 10th NRPA Parks Build Community project. Portions of the park will undergo significant renovations as corporate donors and local companies come together to transform the area into a vibrant public space where residents of all ages can gather and play. The park renovations will be unveiled during the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla.
"NRPA is thrilled to announce its tenth Parks Build Community project," said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. "Over the years, we've had the distinct privilege of working with donors and park leaders from local agencies in cities where we host our annual conference to bring these amazing park transformations to life. These projects demonstrate our commitment to ensure every person in every community has access to quality park and recreation amenities that boost quality of life and strengthen communities."
According to the association, the 12-acre parcel surrounding an architecturally significant and historic schoolhouse, built in 1926, creates the perfect landscape for Grand Avenue Park. This park was selected for the 10th NRPA Parks Build Community project because it is at the center of a neighborhood in need of a renovated public space to serve the community. In addition, the City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Department is planning multiple recreation enhancements and programs, including the renovation of the adjacent community center, making the overall project a community jewel.
In 1938, the Grand Avenue site was selected as one of four new summer playgrounds with activities supervised by the city's then recreation department in partnership with the PTAs in the area. The purpose was to promote recreation for children, and it did for many years. Decades later, the school was slated for demolition, but was spared by the swift actions of the City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Department leaders. In 2017, the school closed, and the parks and recreation department dedicated a two-year build-out to turn the structure into a vibrant community center.