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Shingle Creek Regional Trail will link Kissimmee to Seminole, Lake counties

Posted on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 2:02 pm

By Ken Jackson
Staff Writer
Local dignitaries gathered Friday to break ground on a multi-use recreational trail that, when fully constructed, will span 32 miles through one of Florida’s most traveled areas.

News-Gazette Photo/Marc Clery Officials from the city of Kissimmee and Osceola County throw mounds of dirt during the Shingle Creek Regional Trail North Phase 1 groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.

News-Gazette Photo/Marc Clery
Officials from the city of Kissimmee and Osceola County throw mounds of dirt during the Shingle Creek Regional Trail North Phase 1 groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.

Thanks to the cooperation between the local governments of the city of Kissimmee, Osceola County, the city of Orlando and Orange County, the Shingle Creek Regional Trail will be part of an extensive trail network that will eventually extend from Kissimmee to Wekiva Springs State Park in Seminole County, and from Orlando to Mascotte in Lake County.
The Kissimmee portion that broke ground on Friday, the North Project Area Phase 1, will run north from the Osceola County Welcome Center and Historical Museum to the new Pioneer Village at
Babb Landing.
The initial project includes a 14-foot wide paved multi-use path, boardwalks and a new steel arch bridge over Shingle Creek north of Vine Street. Steffee Landing, a launch point for boats down the creek toward Lake Tohopekaliga with a rental facility, opened in fall of 2014.
The expansive project got the cooperation of a handful of government entities, including Kissimmee, Osceola County, the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Transportation.
Kissimmee Mayor Jim Swan and Kissimmee Director of Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Dan Loubier said the plan for the trail was hatched 25 years ago, when Swan was a county commissioner.
“Every city and county commission since then voted jointly to make that happen,” Swan said. “You don’t hear enough about everything that’s going really well. This is an example of something that is going to help our community now and 30, 40, 50 years from now.
“Dan said how many years ago this all started; he reminded me how I’m getting old. He left out the fact that he was a young man then, too.”
Loubier said it’s a project near and dear to the hearts of longtime residents, conservationists and municipal workers.
“I started working on it 25 years ago with a small group of people. It’s grown into this massive Shingle Creek Corridor thanks to the vision, persistence and patience of a few county and city staffers,” he said. “We’re here to start groundbreaking on this segment, but there are other segments that will be coming along too.
County Commissioner Mike Harford, whose district 1 includes the Shingle Creek Corridor and who doesn’t live far from where the trail will be constructed, said the project delivers on a commitment to preserve environmentally sensitive land.
“To do that we had to find our partners. They included the Trust for Public Land, South Florida Water Management and even state-level agencies contributed,” he said. “It’s hard to find our commonalities. This is a great piece for our local residents, to be able to see some of the history of Shingle Creek as they go north and cross that bridge and go into a Pioneer Village that will talk about how this area was settled in the 1800’s and see how those people lived.”