Skip to content

Winter Park Needs New Leadership

(Correction: The version of this post sent by email should have stated that the OAO was rescinded after the 2020 election, not the 2019 election.)

After my post about “Pointless Park” I received questions from residents about how this could have happened. Why will we have a park where none is needed? Why are we out $8,000,000? We could have sold 2 acres for compatible development for about $4,000,000 while generating $80,000 per year in new property taxes, and had a new 1.6 acre park. Instead, we will pay $4,000,000 for a park we don’t need and have no new revenue.

Unfortunately, in recent years our governance has gone from genuine concern for the long term interests of our residents and businesses, to policies based in personal political ideology of commission members and their friends. Fiduciary duty has been replaced by selfish ideology.

Pointless Park” at the corner of Denning and Orange Avenues is now formally referred to as “Seven Oaks Park.” The approved name relates to the seven mature oak trees recently planted on the land at cost of over $100,000. The entire 3.6 acre property is to include 2.3 acres of park with the balance being a parking lot and possible buildings for concessionaires. The city (that’s us) will need to pay to maintain all this.

The end result is that the commission has committed $4,000,000 of our money to build a park to fulfill their ideology of “land preservation,” while forgoing the sale of 2 acres of the Progress Point land that would have generated about $4,000,000, plus about $80,000 per year in property taxes, while still setting aside 1.6 acres for green space.

I offer the following background for those interested in how we got to this point.


  • At the time of initial Orange Avenue Overlay (OAO) code approvals in 2020 the concept for the 3.6 acre city owned Progress Point land was to sell it for development while requiring the buyer to set aside 1.5 acres as green space/park. That is, generating taxable development consistent within code while having the new property owner provide green space.
  • The Winter Park Land Trust was started around 2018 by Steve Goldman, a wealthy entrepreneur who spends his time between Winter Park and Marin County, California. The purpose of the land trust is: “to acquire, manage and preserve real estate in and around the city of winter park, florida, for parks and recreational use for the benefit of the general public and/or to plan for the use of, preserve, protect and restore natural resources for the benefit of the general public.” The Board of Trustees initially included and still includes Phil Anderson, Mayor of Winter Park. Contrary to its charter, the Winter Park Land Trust has not acquired, managed, or preserved any real estate in and around the city of winter park since its inception.
  • After the April 2020 election, the new commission immediately rescinded the initial OAO and began a process of turning the city owned Progress Point land into a park at taxpayer expense.
  • The commission invited Winter Park Land Trust trustees Steve Goldman and Bob Bendick to a July 2020 work session meeting promoting the conversion of all the land to city owned park. In an attempt to distance himself from potential tax issues, Goldman, at this meeting, made the statement that he was present as an individual, not representing the Winter Park Land Trust. No one else was invited to present any alternative uses of our land.
  • Winter Park Land Trust trustee Phil Anderson was elected Winter Park Mayor in March 2021. His campaign efforts did not indicate his position with the Land Trust or mention turning the Progress Point land into a city park as a reason to vote for him.
  • The park design and budget were approved in November 2022. The park will cost us over $4,000,000 in direct costs while having an opportunity cost exceeding $4,000,000 (the approximate market value of 2 acres on Orange Ave). If 2 acres were sold and developed to code, we would see about $80,000 in new tax revenue per year and have still have 1.6 acres of green space.
  • In April 2023 Steve Goldman was listed in the park ground breaking media release, participating as Chairman of the Winter Park Land Trust.

Posted in Policy.

One Response

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Pitt Warner says

    I laughed out loud when I read WP Land Trust honcho Goldman was at the groundbreaking of PP. All those Big Shots on their board and they’re too cheap to actually invest their own money….they want Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer’s money to build their legacy. Typical Leftist/Progressives…. you see, they “care” so much “we” (WP Taxpayer) need to support their “mission from Gawd”.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.