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Closing of Cypress Gardens

Florida Cypress Gardens
announced today its plans to cease normal park operations
when the park closes at
7:00pm Sunday, April 13th
This announcement comes from Bill Reynolds, President and CEO.

Complete News Release

Photo from the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
Cypress Gardens Founders Dick and Julie Pope
pose with one of the famous Gardens Southern Belles


December 16, 2003
Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce

Trust for Public Land Outlines Plans for Gardens Preservation

Greg Chelius, State Director for the Florida office of the
Trust for Public Land  (TPL)

today outlined what he believes will be the strategy
for the preservation and reopening of Cypress Gardens.
The $20.5 million sale would include:

State purchase of an $11 million conservation easement
on approximately 150 acres of the Cypress Gardens property.
The Governor and Cabinet will consider this purchase
at a special called meeting of the Cabinet prior to January 24, 2004.

$7 million purchase by Wild Adventures/Valdosta
of 120 acres (of the 150 total)
for use in operating a theme park on the site.

$2.5 million in local funds from the County,
City of Winter Haven and community
to purchase the title to the historic original 30 acres
which includes the botanical gardens and ski show cove.
This portion would be maintained by the theme park operator
but preserved in its original state.

Former Senator
Rick Dantzler,
Chairman of a Chamber of Commerce task force
on the future of Cypress Gardens,
noted "From a community standpoint,
this is the best of all possible outcomes.
We receive the jobs and economic activity of an active park
but don't have to manage it, and the public obtains title to the land
of the most historically significant part of Cypress Gardens."

The Chamber will begin working immediately
with City and County officials for a successful outcome.
Since the local participation will be to acquire property,
the acquisition is a prime candidate for a grant through
Florida Communities Trust program (FCT).
Consequently, a significant part of the local investment,
perhaps as high as 75%, may be recouped from FCT.
If that is realized, for as little as $625,000
the historic original gardens will be protected forever.

Chamber President
Howard Beckert said,
"The economic impact of a revitalized Cypress Gardens
will strengthen Polk County tourism and restore jobs.
A rea hotels, restaurants and other businesses
will welcome the return of this Florida icon."

The success of this collaborative effort between the state,
TPL and community will mean that, once again,
Winter Haven and Polk County will be the
"Home of Beautiful Cypress Gardens."

This message was e-mailed to ACTWON : Dec 16 2003

Photo of painting from The Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce

September 26, 2003
Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce

The Trust for Public Lands

has announced that it has successfully negotiated
the purchase of 142 acres of Cypress Gardens.

This includes all of the acreage on Lake Eloise
and the land east of Helena Road
on the sweeping bend of Cypress Gardens Boulevard.
The Trust is immediately responsible for maintenance and security.
Cypress Gardens advocates everywhere have pulled together
and preserved this icon of Florida tourism.
Congratulations to all who have, in some way,
worked to make this happen.
It is truly one of Florida's finest hours.
Watch for an announcement in the near future on
"Garden Palms - Volunteer Cypress Gardeners."
Hundreds of volunteers are ready to participate in
Cypress Gardens clean up days.
The Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
is working with the Trust for Public Lands
to coordinate the efforts of these gracious volunteers.

This message was e-mailed to ACTWON : Sep 25 2003

Gardens Update and Call for Volunteers

The Ledger: Lakeland, Polk County, Florida Greetings from the
Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
Home of Cypress Gardens

This message is being sent to the thousands of people
throughout the world who have
registered their name and address at
There have been several very positive developments of late
and we want to update you as to the status of Cypress Gardens.

First, on Monday, August 25, the
Trust for Public Lands (TPL)
announced they had obtained a 30 day option to purchase
107 acres of the original Gardens property.
The 60-70 acres that formed the original park in 1936
fall within the boundaries of the parcel
This means that the successful acquisition by TPL
would allow the State of Florida to purchase
a conservation easement over the historic portions of the park
and it would be forever protected.
The Trust is currently obtaining an appraisal of the parcel
and will attempt to negotiate a purchase by September 25.
The organization has asked the Greater Winter Haven Chamber
to mobilize volunteers for Gardens clean up days
and we'll talk more about that later.

This is obviously a very positive step forward as it has been our position from the beginning
that AT A MINIMUM the historic portions of the original attraction must be preserved.
Should State officials and/or the Trust for Public Lands
find it feasible to purchase acreage beyond the original park, we applaud their success.

Secondly, on Tuesday, August 26, Governor Jeb Bush and the Cabinet
voted to place Cypress Gardens on the state list for endangered lands
which authorizes state officials to negotiate a potential conservation easement.
State officials have fast-tracked the process of determining
Cypress Gardens historic attributes, appraisals and fate.
This allowed the Governor and Cabinet to reach their consensus
just seventeen weeks after the beloved attraction closed.
A grateful community and Polk County as well as millions of Cypress Gardens advocates
appreciate the extraordinary efforts of these dedicated public servants.

As mentioned earlier, the Winter Haven Chamber has been asked to mobilize volunteers
to mow, weed, prune and love the Gardens back to life.
Plentiful summer rains have allowed both the botanical gardens and the weeds to thrive.
We know that many of you live too far away to assist physically,but there are two ways to help...
If you want to take part in one or more clean up days (to be announced in the near future)
just reply to this email and mention what you might be willing to do.
The Trust for Public Lands is accepting tax deductible contributions
to be used in maintaining the grounds over the next several months.
Any amount will help. Mail your tax-deductible contributions to:
The Trust for Public Lands
306 N. Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
ATTN: Kathy Baughman
Winter Haven area leaders are now gathering information
in preparation for working with the Trust for Public Lands
in finding a successful solution for Cypress Gardens preservation.
Finally, Cypress Gardens employees are having a reunion this weekend here in Winter Haven.
They will meet at downtown's Lake Silver from Noon to 4 pm on Sunday.
The cast of the final ski show at the Gardens will perform that same show.
It is free and open to the public. We hope many of you are able to enjoy this historic event.

The magnitude of your concern and support is making a difference.
Bob Gernert
Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce

This message was e-mailed to ACTWON : Aug 28 2003 

Sunday, August 31, 2003
Some of you who received yesterday's Cypress Gardens update
had difficulty in replying to that message.
We are confirming messages from the volunteers as they are received.
If you wish to volunteer,
please send your name and the skill, equipment or task you wish to volunteer to:
We will notify you when clean up days for Cypress Gardens are scheduled later in September.
We regret the inconvenience and appreciate your support.
Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce

Bob Gernert, Jr.
Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 1420, Winter Haven, FL 33882-1420
Telephone (863) 293-2138

The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land
306 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Trust for Public Land (TPL)
Move to Save Cypress Gardens Site
Anne Nelson, anne.nelson@tpl.org
850 222-7911 ext 18

Save Cypress Gardens!
Save Cypress Gardens!

The purpose of Friends of Cypress Gardens
is to support the State of Florida
in their effort to purchase beautiful Cypress Gardens
and make it into a State Park
 Contact: Burma Davis Posey

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This photo is from Collette Neuberger
Click on photo for Larger image

Save Cypress Gardens!
Save Cypress Gardens!
"Save the Gardens" is an effort to preserve
the historically significant portions of
the Cypress Gardens theme park
to include the botanical gardens.
Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce

Save Cypress Gardens!
Save Cypress Gardens!
If you are interested in working to preserve
the original botanical gardens of Cypress Gardens,
please leave your name and your e-mail address.

Executive Office of the Governor
Governor Jeb Bush

MyFlorida.com State Portal! helps you locate Florida information

Florida Government

Fantasy of Flight, World's Greatest Aircraft Collection
Fantasy of Flight
1400 Broadway Blvd SE
Polk City, FL 33868

Featuring many rare and vintage aircraft,
this popular attraction transports you
back to the hey-day of aviation.
Welcomed by the nostalgic art-deco architecture
you will reconnect with your childhood belief
that you really can fly

Attention! Cypress Gardens Annual Pass Holders! Come In, Show Your Pass & Get FREE Admission to Fantasy of Flight for A FULL YEAR!

WHNC: Other parks help Gardens' passholders

Fantasy of Flight
fotos by Alan C. Teeple

A complete reflection of the news, events, entertainments, real estate and business community of Polk County Florida including Winter Haven, Bartow, Auburndale, Lake Wales and Haines City

How much of Cypress Gardens
do you think should be purchased by the state of Florida?
May 13, 2003

Botanicalgardens (37 acres)
Botanical gardens, water ski area, parking area (75 acres)
All (233 acres)
None - tax dollars should not be used for this project

Results - May 19, 2003

How much of Cypress Gardens
do you think should be purchased by the state of Florida?

Botanicalgardens (37 acres)



Botanical gardens, water ski area, parking area (75 acres)



All (233 acres)  



None - tax dollars should not be used for this project





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