A Visual Reminder of the Importance of Planning

A few weeks ago, City Manager Deric Feacher gave a presentation to the chamber’s Young Professionals Group on the importance of planning and being civically engaged in the process within our community. To kick off the presentation he showed a series of ‘then & now’ photos to illustrate how planning leads to what we see today. There were audible gasps from the audience at the transformation. At that moment, I thought it would be important to share . . .

How do these changes happen? It has to be a collaborative effort, and collaborative vision, between the city (staff andelected officials), private investors, the business community and the citizens of the community speaking up for what they want. With all of the future opportunities in Winter Haven, we are at the crossroads of the next round of transformation. In your opinion, what should the collaborative planning efforts be focused on?

A visual reminder:

Central Avenue before 2003

Central Ave Pre 2003

Central Avenue TODAY: 

Central Ave Today

Central Avenue corner lot before 2000:

Central Avenue Corner 2000

Central Avenue corner lot TODAY:

Central Ave Corner TODAY

Central Avenue looking west in 2000:

Central Ave Looking West 2000

Central Avenue looking west TODAY:

Central Ave Looking West Today

234 W Central Avenue before 200o

Potthast Studios before 2000

234 W Central Avenue TODAY (Potthast Studios) 

Potthast Studios TODAY

3rd St NW looking towards Central Avenue – before 2009

3rd St facing Central before 2009

3rd St NW looking towards Central Avenue – TODAY 

3rd St towards Central Today

Central Park before 2000 

Central Park before 2000

Central Park TODAY

Central Park Today

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9 Responses to A Visual Reminder of the Importance of Planning

  1. Melea Gernert says:

    Love seeing these before & after photos. It really shows just how far downtown has come! And more great things happen every day!!

  2. Linda Moore says:

    It is certainly great to see all the changes and improvements to Downtown Winter Haven over the past 15-16 years. I sincerely hope Ronni Wood was given credit for her hard work at the beginning of all these changes. She had a vision and she was a joy to work with. Winter Haven was lucky to have her and her vision.

  3. Beth says:

    I would love to see the City link up the beautiful existing downtown trail and linear park system by constructing the South Central Park project and band shell amenity. This would effectively connect Central Park with the new 3rd Street streetscaping and trail extension that the City recently completed. Wouldn’t that be really cool! One more jewel in the downtown crown of public spaces that has been envisioned and planned for everyone to enjoy.

  4. Linda,

    Absolutely. Main Street Winter Haven is celebrating their 20th anniversary next year so there is no doubt that thanks should be given for their part in the advocacy and transformation of the downtown core!

  5. Steven says:

    I would love to see the unique South Central Park band shell, streetscaping, and Park re-configuration that was designed in 2009 to be constructed. This would serve as a magnet to help attract Legoland and other visitors to our downtown and vault WH into another league by being able to facilitate downtown events of a grander scale.

  6. Angela Harwell says:

    It is fun and exciting to see how downtown has transformed!
    Great before & after photos! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Kerry says:

    Main Street got the ball rolling and keeps it rolling today. The City made a very wise investment in the downtown streetscape and Central Park, and moving the library downtown was a genius move. Private enterprise has been the most tangible driver over the years and will continue to make the hard choices and take on the risk of renovating buildings one-by-one. But the City now needs to connect the dots with the South Park project. This public space and connecting trail system differentiates Winter Haven from many other towns in Florida. A vital downtown is essential for attracting new businesses and for the promotion of the entire area. It wasn’t long ago that it was embarrassing to take visitors downtown. You get a whole different reaction from first-timers these days!

  8. Tracy Porter says:

    Wow! What a transformation! Kudos to all involved for transforming downtown and making it one of my favorite places in Polk!

  9. Pingback: Planning, Planning, Planning | Winter Haven Chamber Business Blog

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