In late 2017, Commissioner Choudhry and the Assistant County Manager approached the CROA Board about contributing funds towards the development of a community center along the civic corridor. For various business reasons, both parties agreed to have the funds contributed to the athletic fields on the Celebration civic corridor instead. Negotiations ensued and the CROA Board agreed to the final Osceola County terms at the CROA Board meeting on December 17, 2018. You can view the discussion and approval on the Celebration Front Porch both in the video recording of the meeting and the final meeting minutes. The Osceola County Commissioners were to provide their final approval of the agreement at their February Board meeting and CROA expected to receive the County funds by March 1, 2019.
What occurred since is that the County Commissioners delayed their vote for several months. CROA received a substantially revised document from the County in March 2019 (which was a rewrite of what they had previously sent us as a final document). There was a meeting with our Commissioner Peggy Choudhry and other County officials in late April. After April, we thought the agreement was done and then the County voting got delayed again. CROA’s position at this time was that we would not vote again until we had a final County proposed document. The County Commissioners briefly discussed the agreement with CROA at their July meeting and at their August meeting they passed an agreement that includes additional changes they require. Essentially, in August the County has come back with these three additional changes:
- They have removed the following “Whereas statement”.
“WHEREAS, COUNTY and CROA agree that the useful life of the Community Park Improvements is not expected to exceed twenty-five (25) years.”
- They have included language stating that all residents of Osceola County will have access to the public parts and meeting rooms of the corridor during posted park hours (this does not include the fields) at the same rates as Celebration residents. Currently, we have fenced off the broad area including these public areas and amenities – this would make us consider if we want separate fencing for the athletic fields themselves.
- Section 8 – Ownership, has been changed to read as follows:
“Upon completion of the Community Park Improvements, CROA shall retain sole ownership of the Community Park and must ensure appropriate public usage and access to the facility as defined in Section 7 for a period of no fewer than ninety-nine (99) years from the date of public opening. Any part of the County trail system that runs through the park shall be accessible by the public in perpetuity, consistent with County operating hours for trails.”
The County trail system is not defined and could obviously change substantially in the future. The Board considers the changes to Section 8 to be significant. At the Wednesday August 28 CROA Board meeting we intend to discuss the County agreement and likely take a vote on whether to accept or reject the terms. We welcome your feedback in the interim and encourage board meeting attendance. You can email CROA Board members on the Celebration Front Porch should you desire.