Wekiva Headwaters Park.
Neighbors have been fighting for months now to stop Princeton Oaks, a 1.03 million-square-foot project that developers and City Commissioner Regina Hill say would bring jobs and progress to the area. The parcel currently contains 36 acres of wetlands that are part of the Little Wekiva River Watershed, and in their plans, developers planned to conserve 27 acres of those wetlands.
Dr. Wanda Jones, who lives a block away from the proposed development and filed a petition against the project, hasn't heard anything from the city, developers or the hearing officer after a quasi-judicial hearing held in late November. She adds that the industrial park is completely against Mayor Buddy Dyer’s 2007 initiative "Green Works Orlando" to make the city one of the most environmentally friendly places to live.
“They paid how many millions to save Constitution Green and now they have that One Person, One Tree initiative,” she says. “What’s the point of planting all those trees if you’re going to cut down these?”
Chuck O'Neal, director of Speak Up Wekiva, says he is speaking with The Trust for Public Lands, a national nonprofit organization that helps fund the creation of park and protected lands. If the property is bought, it would be given to the city, county or a water district for management purposes.
“There’s a lack of quality green space on the west side of Orlando,” he says. “We need a conservation park for kids to learn about nature, and a place where residents can find solace and solitude. It’s our last chance to preserve what originally was of Florida.”
Paul Griffin, president of the local Northwest Alliance Association, says the organization has arranged a meeting with the city officials, Orange County officials, and the developers at the Hal Marston Community Center on 3933 WD Judge Drive at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 12.