Dirt re­moval for South Lake Re­gional Park will re­quire 300 trucks a day for two years

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Jerry Fall­strom

Steven Colello doesn’t rel­ish the prospect of trucks rum­bling up and down Max Hooks Road near Grov­e­land, haul­ing dirt to make way for ball­fields at the new South Lake Re­gional Park.

Not just one or two trucks a day — the plan calls for up to 300 round trips daily for 18 months to two years, ac­cord­ing to the county.

“These homes aren’t the most stur­di­est homes,” said Colello, 55, who lives in Oak Lane Mo­bile Home Park. “Trucks like that tend to rum­ble your walls and stuff falls off your walls.…I would have to put my vote against it if I was to vote.”

But vot­ing on the plan was re­served for Lake County com­mis­sion­ers, who OK’d a $2.8 mil­lion site-de­vel­op­ment plan for the $18 mil­lion park south of State Road 50 off Max Hooks Road. The con­tract was a key step in the de­vel­op­ment of the park since com­mis­sion­ers held a ground­break­ing cer­e­mony in April. Com­mis­sion­ers say the ball­fields are des­per­ately needed in a fast-grow­ing re­gion with a short­age of places for kids to swing bats and kick balls.

Com­mis­sioner Les­lie Cam­pi­one said she wants ball­fields “as soon as pos­si­ble” but was con­cerned about the mag­ni­tude of the dirt-re­moval project.

How­ever, com­mis­sion Chair­man Tim Sul­li­van said it might not be as bad as it sounds, not­ing that the trucks will be tak­ing the dirt along two ma­jor roads: S.R. 50 and U.S. High­way 27.

“I don’t know where else you can get that kind of ca­pac­ity,” Sul­li­van said. “Three hun­dred trips a day sounds like a lot, [but] on a road that gen­er­ates 30,000 trips a day, you’re talking 1 per­cent of the nor­mal traf­fic . ... ”

Cam­pi­one said she didn’t want to be an “ob­struc­tion­ist” by rais­ing con­cerns about the scope of the dirt haul­ing.

“I just want to make it clear: If we do get com­plaints, I’m cer­tainly go­ing to re­fer them to you,” she said with a laugh, re­fer­ring to Sul­li­van.

She also said the county needs to be flex­i­ble about ad­just­ing the num­ber of trips “if it looks like it’s just not work­ing or it’s cre­at­ing too many prob­lems ...”

Com­mis­sioner Sean Parks said all of the sites eyed for South Lake Re­gional Park had “some kind of sig­nif­i­cant topo­graph­i­cal is­sue … be­ing there is a lot of hills. Re­gard­less, there would have been a lot of dirt hav­ing to be re­moved.”

Com­mis­sioner Josh Blake cast the lone vote against the site-prepa­ra­tion con­tract with Oel­rich Con­struc­tion of Jonesville. He said the money could go to­ward road resur­fac­ing.

“For me, it’s a pri­or­ity is­sue,” he said.

Com­mis­sion­ers worked for years to find a site and line up fund­ing for South Lake Re­gional Park to help meet a tremen­dous de­mand for ath­letic fields. The fa­cil­ity will in­clude eight mul­ti­pur­pose fields, eight soft­ball fields, six base­ball fields, two cricket fields, play­grounds, trails, a boat dock, con­ces­sion build­ings and pavil­ions.

MARTIN E. CO­MAS/OR­LANDO SEN­TINEL

County com­mis­sion­ers and other of­fi­cials take part in a ground­break­ing cer­e­mony April 6 for the $18 mil­lion South Lake Re­gional Park.

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