From Brown to Green: Transforming Urban Infrastructure in Lakeland, Florida

10/29/2020 1:30 p.m. EDT

Session Type:  Education Session (1 hour)

Track: Conservation


From a Baygall swamp to a bustling railyard that served as the largest employer in Central Florida, Lake Bonnet and its surrounding land has played a myriad of roles throughout history. This 180-acre piece of land adjacent to downtown Lakeland, Florida, was a working piece of infrastructure up until the 1950s. Fast-forward 60 years to today and see the next role this derelict brownfield site serves: a public park. Bonnet Springs Park's visionary mission and technical challenge is to reverse the impacts of former Lakeland Rail Yard operations and create a site where wetlands work to manage and clean an urban watershed, to use artful landforms to conceal decades of contamination, and to harness imaginative horticulture to encourage a connection to nature for future generations. This session will explore how innovative designs for brownfield sites, partnerships and funding are remediating the land and transforming it into a new Central Park for Florida.


Learning Objectives

Understand the organizational structure and funding strategies to design, build and operate a privately-funded public park.

Explore the phases of design and permitting needed to transform a derelict piece of land into a successful urban park.

Investigate the latest technologies in remediation, water management and trash collection and learn how they serve as infrastructure for the larger urban fabric.


Anna Cawrse

Landscape Architect, Sasaki

Anna Cawrse is a landscape architect at Sasaki who has worked on and managed complex built projects and park plans across North America. From large regional parks along major waterways, to small pocket parks within the urban fabric of cities, Cawrse brings an expertise on how to transition master plans of the public realm into realized space. She also is an adjunct professor at Northeastern University.

Bill Tinsley

President, Bonnet Springs Park

Todd Kafka

Principal Hydrogeologist, Geosyntec Consultants

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