As their home page states, “Citrus Park is a unique oasis situated in the heart of Southwest Florida that caters to the active lifestyle for those who want to enjoy all the Gulf Coast has to offer.” This seasonal community nestled on the eastern outskirts of the City of Bonita Springs lies quiet during the off season between April and October, then explodes with activity during season from November through March.
This 55 and over community of 3,500 plus residents on 401 acres is almost self-sufficient with their own water and wastewater treatment plants, a community center, and recreation center with large heated swimming pools for programmed activities. Outdoor recreation opportunities include tennis, pickleball, bocce ball, pètanque, horseshoe, and shuffleboard courts, a driving range, and community softball fields with a concession stand, which are all well attended each day by the seasonal residents.
Citrus Park, as its name suggests, was established in 1970 by Erich Trost as a mobile and manufactured home park and RV resort amidst the citrus groves of Southwest Florida. The ownership and management of the park was passed down over the years to family members. In 2019, the park was purchased by CMH Investment Management, LLC, and together with the management firms of Real Projectives, LLC and Murex Properties, they formed a future vision for the park. The new owners retained Johnson Engineering as their consultant to assist in the design, permitting, and construction oversight of the future site improvements. The design team realized that the aesthetic impact of initial park improvements would need to be swift and bold enough to create a buzz among residents and the local community.
Johnson Engineering’s landscape architectural design team wasted no time meeting with the larger Carlyle design team to gain a complete understanding of the future park vision. Within a week of the initial design discussions our Landscape Architecture team created a long-term phasing plan to bring Citrus Park into the 21st century. Our team presented the landscape design and irrigation plan and received immediate approval to implement the first phase of improvements. Phase 1 of the plan included improving the areas of highest visual impact for returning residents, which were along the main entry road, Trost Boulevard, and around the community’s recreational areas.
Our landscape team found that the existing hedgerows between Trost Boulevard and the existing residential homesites, retained over the years as a visual buffer, had been poorly maintained and consisted of undesirable invasive and exotic vegetation. Our team literally cleared the way for the new landscaping by quickly obtaining a tree removal permit from the City of Bonita Springs for the hedgerows along Trost Boulevard and the adjoining canals, to be replaced with a continuous, uniform, and manageable shrub hedge and shade trees, creating the backdrop for the main landscaping improvements.
The newly implemented entry drive landscaping now includes rhythmic groupings of Royal Palms reinforced by colorful native and Florida Friendly shrub massings under the new palm groupings to create the desired tropical paradise as envisioned by the new owners’ design team.
Our team also designed and permitted a new lighting plan to replace outdated lights on wooden utility poles. The new lighting plan, of decorative LED pendant lights with banners, received approval from the City and will be implemented in the next few weeks.
As the Citrus Park aesthetic improvements move forward, Johnson Engineering’s Landscape Architects will play a large role in designing landscape lighting for the newly installed plantings. The Johnson Engineering team will continue providing master planning and design services for the future improvements phases, which will encompass the existing court renovations, new play courts, lake improvements, lighting improvements, and other visual upgrades throughout the community.
The next phase of planned improvements require the support of our in-house civil engineers, electrical engineers, planners, and utility engineers to develop site plan improvements. As the Johnson Engineering team continues working to improve the parks’ amenities and infrastructure, both aesthetics and long-term maintenance will be our focus. We look forward to hearing the residents’ reactions as they begin to return to their newly renovated community this fall.
For more information, contact Jeff Nagle, RLA at [email protected].