Clermont City Manager Darren Gray Addresses Historical Society

    Now completed: Victory Point Construction site

    Submitted by Donna Digennaro, South Lake County Historical Society

    Darren Gray, Clermont’s City Manager, was the featured speaker at the November meeting of the South Lake County Historical Society. 

    Katheryn Deen and Darren Gray

    Assisted by the city’s new Director of Communications, Kathryn Deen, and a power point presentation, he outlined the plans-both public & private- for the city’s immediate future.  When the city hosted visioning sessions a few years ago it was very evident that the citizens wanted to “enjoy” downtown and the 2.5 miles of lakefront property owned by the city.

    The first step in making that happen was Victory Pointe, the new stormwater and pollution reduction system for the Chain of Lakes.  This had to happen before any of the other steps could be taken.  It has insured an environmentally safe way of dealing with runoff in the Historic Downtown area.

    Rendering- Meet In the Middle Plaza

    Now that this is in place, the city can move forward with bricking some roadways, providing more parking spaces, enhancing City Park, providing Wi-Fi on the trail, constructing gateway signs on the city’s east, west and north access roads, and constructing a “Meet Us in the Middle Plaza” on the trail.  Several of these projects are projected to be completed in 2019.

    Private enterprise has been and is busy developing new projects for the Downtown area.  The Suncreek Brewery/Savoree/Michael’s Ali are already busy spots to eat, drink and enjoy a fun afternoon or evening. 

    Suncreek Brewery General Manager John Rink greets long-time Clermont locals

    Victory Pointe Condos are currently going through the permitting process. 

    Rendering: Condos at Victory Pointe

    A roof-top wine & bourbon bar & BBQ is in the works, Clermont Brewery with pizza & sushi is under construction, as is Mac’d Out on Minneola Ave.  There are also a large number of other businesses like law offices, real estate developers, salons, eateries, and the Montrose Street Market that have recently or will soon open in the Historic District.

    Darren Gray

    All these efforts have not gone unnoticed.  Darren is frequently asked to make presentations to other cities that are interested in moving forward with their development.  The city has also been the recipient of many awards such as:  Best Central Florida City to live in, one of the top 20 cities for retirees, Trail Town Designation, Train like an Olympian and much more.

    Clermont’s future looks very bright but how did it get here?  What brought people to this part of Florida?  How did they live?  To get the answers to these and other questions about Clermont’s past come to the Historic Village located at 490 West Ave. not far from the Historic Downtown Shopping area.  The Village is open every Friday from 1 pm to 3 pm and every Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm.  Admission to the Historic Village is always free but a $2.00 donation per person is requested.

    If you are interested in history in general or the history of Lake County in particular, contact the South Lake County Historical Society by going to our website,; by calling our manager, Roxanne Brown, at 352-432-3496 or by attending our membership meetings which are held on the second Monday of the month at 7 pm in the Train Depot in the Historic Village.  The next meeting will be January 14, 2019.

    pictures furnished by SOUTH LAKE TABLET

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