Downtown Master Plan

Lee Evett
City Administrator
(386) 228-2358
levett@lakehelen.org
PO Box 39, Lake Helen, FL 32744


The city of Lake Helen’s award-winning Downtown-Master Plan has served as the city’s road map for the future of our city’s downtown since its adoption in 2018. Like any plan, it is meant to be a guide and is intended to adapt to changing circumstances. 

There are many projects proposed in the overall Down-Town Master Plan, including streetscape, parks and infrastructure improvements. The Downtown-Master Plan offers insight on how to keep our city connected and how to protect “The Gem of Florida” that has attracted many people to call our town home.

The focus on the Downtown Master Plan offers insight on how to preserve the small town charm of Lake Helen while providing a pathway to managed and responsible growth. Click HERE to review the Lake Helen Master Plan.

We are dedicated to bringing this vision to life and have already made great progress. We are delivering on our promises. 


2017
The City of Lake Helen and the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council held a stakeholder workshop to obtain recommendations regarding the potential actions that the City could undertake to address the vision for the Downtown Master Plan and to discuss best practice findings, barriers and opportunities for the downtown area.


2018

The second public hearing for Lake Helen was held in 2018, discussions regarding the current zoning map and the future land use map and how similar they were. Blake Park is the focus of the plan and will reactivate the traditional town center. Place-making ideas were discussed and examples from other cities were displayed. The land values were discussed and that the economic value is concentrated near the downtown.

2018

Blake Park has been redesigned to feature a diverse array of activities and events. This park is planned to function as an active space where visitors can dine, relax, have picnics, or attend events such as concerts, movie nights, barbeque competitions, car shows, farmers markets, and other recreational activities. Lake Helen staff held several communtiy workshops to discuss the renovations to Blake Park Playground Improvements.


2019

Downtown Master Plan also proposed installation of banners. Currently seasonal banners are installed which add to the small town appeal. The renovations to Blake Park Playground provide outdoor activities for the children.

2019

Pleasant Street takes downtown travelers from Blake Park to the South-end of Royal Park. The repaving project was completed in 2019.

While the City of Lake Helen has a largely incomplete sidewalk network, the City is composed primarily of low-volume, low-speed, two-lane roadways that do not necessitate the inclusion of sidewalks to be safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. The current sidewalk network provide access to and from residential areas and the downtown. Specifically, the addition of sidewalks to the east side of Lakeview Drive through the entirety of the City would provide residents with a primary north-south route connecting to a majority of the activity centers within the City.

This strategy would ensure that residential roadways that do not have sidewalks are not the primary north-south and east-west connectors for bicyclists and pedestrians. In addition, this strategy will also help increase “window-traffic” to businesses located along these roadways by “collecting” bicycle and pedestrian trips along these routes.

2019

City of Lake Helen was awarded the outstanding planning award from the Florida Planning Zoning Association. Thank you to the collaboration and efforts of the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council along with our city staff and input from our citizens. Recieving the award was Mayor Daisy Raisler on behalf of the Lake Helen City Commission and citizens.


2020

Lake Helen Downtown Master Plan proposed that the City preserve the view sheds provided along our namesake lake “Helen” at Royal Park, and add, if possible, native vegetation and landscaping to the sloping areas along the lake shore. This can help to ensure the preservation of the water quality. While not shown in the plan, in addition to benches and a winding path, the use of pine trees in this area could restore the “old Lake Helen” feel that this area used to have.

Royal Park is situated just North of Blake Park – Lake Helen Down town.

With a state grant the Lake Helen Lake restoration project – shoreline trees and native vegetation have been added – a collaboration with FWC and the city.


We are dedicated to bringing this downtown vision to life while protecting our small town charm.