What’s the future of Winter Park? Town outlines what will — and what will never — change for the future

The Town of Winter Park and Logan Simpson, the planning firm the town hired, went through several stages of collecting public input to help draft the master plan, Imagine Winter Park. Public comments can still be submitted through an online survey until Oct. 5.

Winter Park’s future is poised to be filled with more changes as the town continues to grow and develop, but there are some things the town wants to make sure never change.

To address the possibilities, the town rolled out the draft of its new master plan, Imagine Winter Park, to help tackle everything from connectivity to recreation to culture. In an open house event on Tuesday evening, town officials met with residents to present and discuss the goals and strategies within the plan.

“Obviously this is a very aspirational plan, it doesn’t have a lot of finer details that maybe previous master plans did, but that was designed,” said James Shockey, community development director for the town. “We plan to use this for more than just for development, really any sort of large decision the town makes we should be able to relate back to this plan.”

The master plan has been in the making for over a year while town officials sought public input and consulted the previous master plan from 2006, as well as other town plans.

Imagine Winter Park outlines four themes of character and culture, global and local connectivity, outdoor recreation and the environment. Each theme has corresponding goals and strategies.

The character and culture theme focused on keeping the authenticity of the town, encouraging growth, having an inclusive and year-round community and continuing to recognize the importance of social spaces.

“We are going to start working with CDOT, starting on those approvals,” Shockey said. “Eventually we’ll get to the point where we can put bikelines on Highway 40 and start creating a sense of a main street versus a highway that goes through our town.”

Connectivity goals highlighted increasing town transit and mobility options, making the base camp at Winter Park Resort more accessible without a car, having a more pedestrian and bike friendly downtown, a focus on improving internet access and looking at emerging technologies, as well as addressing parking.

“Our global and local connectivity is about making sure people can get around Winter Park, getting around Grand County and getting visitors to and from the community as well to encourage economic development,” said Kristina Kachur, a planner with Logan Simpson, the firm that helped the town develop the plan.

Since outdoor recreation is so important to the community, the plan outlines goals to integrate the natural environment with development, expanding everyday adventures while keeping them accessible and encouraging outdoor recreation and environmentally focused businesses.

In an effort to sustain a healthy environment in town, goals include responsible water usage, preserving the national forests, implementing policies regarding impacts to wildlife and the forest and promoting sustainability in policies and development.

“We wouldn’t have Winter Park if we didn’t have this environment,” Kachur said. “This is looking at water, forest, sustainability and living with the environment to maintain it for the future.”

Feedback at the open house was mostly positive, but many residents felt more details were necessary to make sure that the plan was implemented in a way that is beneficial to the community

Residents can continue making comments and suggestions through an online survey, which will be open until Oct. 5.

Town officials plan to use the feedback received to help finalize the plan before presenting it to the town’s Planning Commission on Oct. 23 and then to the Town Council on Nov. 16. After approval, the town will create an action plan to begin implementing goals.

Read the whole plan below:

Winter Park Town Plan Public Draft (Text)

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