Benefits of a Community Center in South Lake
South Lake has so many things to offer residents, but one thing that it does not have is a Community Center. After hearing the news that the former Lincoln Park School, presently known as Clermont Elementary, is closing in 2023, the Lincoln Park South Lake Alliance (LPSLA) was formed in 2020. The LPSLA came together with a plan to convert the Lincoln Park school into a Community Center and presented to the Lake County School Board and The City of Clermont. The LPSLA envisioned using the property in a way that will forever service the community and preserve the history of the Lincoln Park School. This original Community Center plan addressed closing the education gap by bringing technical and vocational programs to the center. It was also slated to provide recreational and enrichment activities for residents in the community as well. The LPSLA is still advocating for portions of the original plan by working with the community, the city, and the school board.
The Current Status of the Effort
After several meetings regarding programming and budget, it was determined that the Lake County School Board will keep the former Lincoln Park school in operation beyond 2023 and introduce alternative programs to help older students achieve their highest potential. In addition, there is future exploration into hosting vocational resources in collaboration with Lake Tech and Lake Sumter State College. These two establishments have been working with us over the past three years to offer GED prep and other adult basic education classes. In addition, offering personal enrichment classes like those in computers, job searching, and resume writing, among others.
Throughout our collaboration, it was determined that the recreation and enrichment programs would be better hosted in an additional location. We are currently advocating to the City of Clermont to develop a safe space for the youth to keep them occupied and engaged by building relationships through sports leagues and extracurricular activities. These programs would benefit working parents who need a safe place for their children to go after school. A community center promotes a healthy and happy lifestyle through, social interaction, and provides a sense of belonging. Great community centers can be the piece that makes a great community come full circle.
The Future of Our Effort
The LPSLA has been advocating and will continue to advocate for a community center that will have recreation and enrichment activities. Over the past three years, we have held meetings with the city, school board, Lake Sumter and Lake Tech. We will continue attending meetings and working with our local officials to make these plans a reality. Sharon Keys stated, “Our recent survey received a 90% favorable response for the community wanting us to move forward with this project.” Our mission is focused on building the community through creativity, collaboration, and access to life-changing opportunities here in South Lake County. Click the link to view the original Community Center project outline.
The LPSLA Impact Committee members and supporters agree that South Lake needs a facility where everyone can unite to build a strong community. We look forward to having a facility one day where we can, collaborate, create, and interact through arts and recreation activities. The ideal location of Lincoln Park is in the h
eart of South Lake and can serve residents in Mascotte, Clermont, Groveland, Monteverde, and Minneola. We want to help build a foundation that allows the entire South Lake Community to grow from within that benefits everyone to develop, build, learn and succeed! If you would like to support LPSLA, please contact one of our team members today!