As many of you know, a new toll road between State Road 60 and the Polk Parkway is going to take out the current trailhead at Marshall Hampton Reserve and a big chunk of the adjacent oak forest.
That means the nature park needs a new entrance and parking area.
Tuesday the Polk County Commission accepted a quit claim deed from the Southwest Florida Water Management District for 1.3 acres along Thornhill Road that will be used not only for the new entrance, but will allow the county to upgrade the bridge of Lake Lena Run, a stream that flows from Auburndale to Lake Hancock and once carried quite a bit of municipal and industrial waste to the lake.
Ancient Islands Sierra has lobbied Swiftmud and the Florida Department of Transportation’s Turnpike Enterprise to make something like this happen.
FDOT also purchased a large tract of the former Old Florida Plantation site from Swiftmud as part of the road project’s need for right of way, stormwater storage and other aspects of the project called the Central Polk Parkway.