City of Clermont Heidi Brishke, Gail Ash, Darren Gray, Diane Travis, Tim Bates and Ray Goodgame

A little over 1-year ago, the city of Clermont began construction on the 10-acre project called Victory Pointe.  On Friday, July 27, Victory Pointe celebrated its grand opening.

City Manager Darren Gray, who has been recognized for his leadership and driving force in taking a vision to fruition, gave the welcoming remarks.

The $9.5-million stormwater project and urban, passive park is critical to the success of the City’s award-winning Master Plan aimed at revitalizing the downtown and waterfront. The innovative park combines recreational elements, such as trails and a performance area, with an extensive stormwater facility. The stormwater facility will enhance drainage downtown and improve the quality of water entering Lake Minneola.

Florida funding partners proudly participate in the Victory Pointe Ribbon Cutting

The City has partnered with several regional and state agencies to fund completion of the multimillion-dollar project. The unique attributes of Victory Pointe have allowed the City to successfully obtain grant funding for many of the recreational, cultural and stormwater elements of the project.

The project was awarded $412,000 through its Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program Implementation grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through an agreement/contract with the Nonpoint Source Management Section of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to fund bio-swales and planters that collect and treat stormwater run-off before entering the park’s filter system and eventually Lake Minneola.

After a rain shower, water will drain into the swales and planters, which consist of vegetation and porous materials. These elements provide the initial treatment on the nutrient-rich run-off.

As part of the larger Victory Pointe conveyance system, the water is then directed to a series of retention ponds. The bio-swales and planters, along with the ponds, represent the first two stages of the water-treatment process. The final two stages, before water enters Lake Minneola, include an inundated marsh and filter marsh.

As part of the partnerships with FDEP, EPA, St. Johns Water Management District (SJWMD) and the Lake County Water Authority, the City will monitor the project to determine the impact the facility has on pollutants entering the lake. It is estimated that 19.09 kg/yr. of phosphorus will be prevented from entering the lake. The project also will remove much of the solid debris and trash that could potentially find its way to the water.

In addition to the improvement of water quality, the project will play a key role in the redevelopment of downtown. As a result of the increased drainage capabilities, the project will act as a catalyst for future development, allowing construction to occur with a 20-percent more impervious surface. This means that downtown businesses will be able to utilize more of their property since less area for drainage will be needed.

To maximize the impact of the project, interpretive signage have been installed throughout the site. The signs will educate visitors about the stormwater treatment system, how it functions and the long-term benefits to the environment. This important, educational part of the project will be completed with financial and technical assistance from the FDEP. Tour guides will point out the signs during the project’s grand opening.

Opening remarks were given by Mayor Gail Ash. Other speakers included State Senator Kelli Stargel, Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks and SJRWMD Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle.

After the Victory Pointe dedication, the Cypress Gardens Water Skiers performed on Lake Minneola.

It was a joyous, long-awaited celebration. What Next? Stay Tuned for the next City project, “Meet In The Middle”.