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Learn About Bonnet Springs Park Designed by Sasaki

Image by Sasaki

After five years of design and construction, Bonnet Springs Park opened to an estimated 25,000 visitors in Lakeland, Florida, on land transformed from a neglected industrial site to a bustling regional destination.

The grand opening marks the culmination of a fruitful partnership between Bonnet Springs Park’s visionary leadership and Sasaki, which designed the 168-acre park from conception to completion.

Before 2017, the overgrown land around Lake Bonnet sat disused and contaminated from its days as a railyard. Now, with a restored landscape and four new cultural buildings, Bonnet Springs Park will serve as a hub for central Florida and beyond.

The park’s concept derived from the need to remediate the contaminated soil that was excavated on the former industrial site. Another motivation was the desire to slow and filter urban stormwater runoff, in effect reducing the pollution and flood risk. These aims drove the project’s topography, the features that populate the landscape, and in turn the architecture that anchors the site.

“Bonnet Springs Park required a level of synthesis between landscape architecture, civil engineering, and architecture throughout the design process that I truly believe only Sasaki could have provided,” says Anna Cawrse, principal and co-director of Sasaki’s Denver office. “The park was driven by the community’s desire to have vibrant cultural spaces and showcase the beautiful ecology of Central Florida. Watching thousands of people enjoy the park at its opening was truly a moving experience.”

You can learn more about Bonnet Springs Park at this year’s ASLA Conference. Check out Anna Cawrse’s session, “Drawing Beyond Concepts: The Role of Drawing from Sketch Through Construction,” on Saturday, November 12. See here for all the sessions Sasaki will be speaking at, and please come say hello!

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