It is the belief of Keep Highway Park Beautiful that change begins with education followed by action. The Highway Park Community is a low income, primarily minority community outside the city limits of Lake Placid, FL. The community was surveyed and asked to prioritize the issues they felt could be most beneficial. The lack of a community park was among the top 3 issues identified. Keep Highway Park Beautiful selected and purchased 100 x 160 foot vacant lot that was filled with trash, overgrown with vegetation, and an abandoned/dilapidated building. The location was ideal for a park due to its proximity to the commercial district and its ease of access. It is within easy walking distance for most residents.
KHPB applied for the KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement grant and was awarded $10,000. With these funds, KHPB immediately began work on the park beginning in September of 2014. A professional landscape design was procured that meets county environmental codes and protects the habitat of certain endangered species such as the blue tailed mole skink and sand skink. County right of ways and underground utilities were validated. Our group of volunteers worked diligently for two months. The teams cleared trash and debris, removed deeply rooted tree stumps, graded land, planted palm trees, laid sod, mulch, flowers, created walking paths and installed one of two fountains. Heavy duty equipment as well as a lot of manual labor was involved. Seventy five (75) percent of the park was completed by November 30, 2014.
Keep Highway Park Beautiful is extremely grateful to KAB and Lowe’s and our many volunteers for their help. This grant went a very long way toward ensuring that our dream of a community park will soon become a reality. What was once vacant, trash filled property at 104 Washington Street in Lake Placid (Highway Park), FL has now become an oasis of beauty even though it is only 75% completed. This park’s design includes green space, children’s butterfly garden, two fountains, and more. The park will include recycling bins to encourage recycling of cans, bottles, & paper as well as cigarette ash receptacles.
Feedback from the community has been extremely positive. We have had residents stop by and just pitch in because they saw how the area was improving and making such a positive difference. It is important to note that this park is visible from U S Hwy 27, a major transportation artery through the county. What was once an eyesore is now becoming one of the treasures of the community.