ORLANDO, Fla. - Near triple-digit temperatures did not keep Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill and her team Monday from firing up the barbecue and honoring veterans living in the Parramore area.
Hill said it was also a way to honor what Lorna Doone Park, near Church Street and South Rio Grande Avenue, means to the community.
"We're getting ready to close the park for the $9 million investment the city is making, so that is the significance of today," Hill said. "Some people aren't ready for the park to be closed, but today is a significant day for those who have made the sacrifice to this community and to let them know the resources available with the closure of the park."
Hill said Lake Lorna Doone Park will be closed for a 12-month renovation. Hill said when it reopens, it will have a splash pad, a kid zone complete with a tent-covered playground, new basketball courts and exercise equipment around Lake Lorna Doone geared for all ages and abilities.
"All our parks are ADA-accessible, but this will have a special section especially for those that are disabled," Hill said.
She said there are also plans for an ecology walk about the lake, and a community garden where nearby seniors can have plots and access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Those splash pads would definitely have been appreciated on a day like Monday, with temperatures hovering in the mid-90s.
Besides racks and racks of chicken being cooked in a nearby smoker, there were several coolers filled with ice, as well as several tents set up for people to seek shelter from the sweltering sun.
Hill pointed out there was city of Orlando staff out monitoring the situation for both the kids and the adults attending the afternoon celebration.
She said city staff came prepared with water and Gatorade for those visiting the park for this last Lake Lorna Doone bash, and there were both officers and paramedics on standby should anyone get overheated.
"We have plenty of hydration, plenty of fluids, we have tents, a stage for the entertainers and shady areas on the west side of the park," Hill said.
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