building permit in Spring Lake was issued in 1972 and throughout the
70’s the community grew and developed. On July 26, 1980 the Spring Lake
Golf Course marked its grand opening. That same year the Community
Center remodeling was completed, and has remained in its current
location since that time.
Over the years
most people have simply referred to the Spring Lake Improvement
District as SLID. Created by a Special Act of the State Legislature in
1971, it is a unit of government similar to a municipality. The
exception is that the District does not have authority over land use,
zoning, development codes, police, or fire. Throughout Florida special
districts were established to promote development; there are over 2,000
special districts in the State. Coral Ridge Properties, which was a
subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric, took the leadership role in the
development of Spring Lake.
The District is
responsible for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the
water management system for drainage and flood control. All permitting
comes from the South Florida Water Management District. It is also
responsible for the supply of potable water, mosquito control, street
lighting, lot mowing, and the operation and maintenance of recreational
Spring Lake was
originally designed to have gravity flow drainage through water control
structures that go west to east, to a pumping station. The system
drains approximately 3,324 acres; 200 acres of canal surface; and 17.1
miles of canal network.
There are five Commissioners who are elected by the voters; three by landowners (one vote for each lot) and two by popular vote.
SPRING LAKE COMMUNITY CENTER:
As the population
of Spring Lake grew throughout the ‘70’s and into the 80’s the
community could find relaxation and leisure under the Pine Breeze Park
screened shelter, the original community center. It was soon completely
enclosed, remodeled, and air-conditioned with free labor supplied by
members of the Spring Lake Community Club, with materials supplied by
the developer, Coral Ridge Properties. A tennis court was also added to
the Park area in the mid 70’s.
The structure was
doubled in size with restrooms and a kitchen in the summer of 1980. The
Community Club marked the completion of its building addition with a
reception and informal ribbon cutting ceremony. Coral Ridge Properties,
who also supplied refreshments of wine and cheese, presented a plaque
recognizing the efforts of the club’s volunteer builders.
Center is currently reserved for a number of activities and functions.
Rental is available at no cost to Spring Lake residents, but groups are
responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the facility after
their group function.
drainage systems, most of Spring Lake would be uninhabitable. On May
11, 1973 the South Florida Water Management District issued a permit to
Spring Lake for the “construction and operation of a water management
system serving 4,934 acres of residential and commercial lands by
swales, canals, and detention lakes, and includes a 260,000 gallons per
minute pump station discharging into Arbuckle Creek via an auxiliary
channel. In 1974 a pump station was built on the east side of Duane
Palmer Blvd. The station has two automated, electrically driven pumps
and two diesel driven pumps for emergency measures. Designed usage for
normal elevation maintenance of the canals requires the operation of
only one pump for approximately 3.5 hours, with amounts of rainfall
determining the frequency of running times for the other pumps.
gleaned from historical documents and old newspaper articles show that
the need for stores and services in Spring Lake were as great in the
early days of our development as they are today. Groundbreaking for the
original plaza took place in July of 1973 and the county commissioners
and county engineer attended the dedication ceremonies. The plaza was
built by Coral Ridge Properties and was designed to have two phases.
The first building was constructed at a cost of $134,000 and the second
building for slightly more. The grand opening for the first building
was held on May 2, 1974.
By 1977 the
second building was completed and the plaza had numerous businesses as
tenants. In fact, there were more services there in 1977 then there was
in 2009. The stores listed in a January 1977 newspaper were:
*Spring Lake Development Administrative Offices
*Annabelle’s Boutique, dresses, and leisurewear
*Kelevon Appliance Center; Westinghouse products
*Sebrino’s Italian Restaurant
*Hughes Spring Lake meat market, plants, produce, groceries
*Spring Lake Draperies
records show that from December 29, 1973 to January 5, 1974 an Open
House was held to view a model home. On March 2, 1974, Florida National
Properties, a Development arm of Coral Ridge Properties and a
subsidiary of Westinghouse advertised a Grand Opening for Village II.
Headlines on most of the publications: “Follow the yellow brick roads
to Florida as it should be.”
By January of
1975 eight new homes were advertised and presented at the Parade of
Homes. Stump Construction, L&T Construction, Carla Enterprises,
Yolman Builders, Whittington Construction, and C&L Construction
built all the homes. All homes shown were in the price range of $30,800
to $42, 900, which also included the lot.
TAMPA TRIBUNE, JUNE 16, 1975
Spring Lake Community, a modern housing development, has increased in
value 434% during its five years of existence, records in the Highlands
county tax assessor’s office state. The 3,500 acre development, about
eight miles south of Sebring on U.S. 98 toward Okeechobee, has an
assessed value of $7.6 million compared to $175,000 five years ago. Tax
Assessor Billy Martin said 96 homes are contained in the acreage. Don
Stanick, Spring Lake Controller, said the most recent evaluation
includes 86 homes assessed at $2,137,000 in Village I, while 10 homes
in Village II are assessed at $279,000.
evaluation will include a total of 157 homes as construction continues
in both Villages. Coral Ridge Properties, builders of Spring Lake, has
announced that two additional Villages will begin construction with
models available later in the next year.
TAMPA TRIBUNE, JANUARY 15, 1977
SEBRING: New home
construction is expected to be almost doubled during 1977 at Spring
Lake, a community being developed by Coral Ridge Properties, Inc. about
eight miles southeast of Sebring. J.H. Ryan, general manager of Spring
Lake and assistant vice-president of Coral Ridge Properties, said
Thursday that 200 homes would be built during the year, compared to 112
in 1976. Mr. Ryan spoke to a group of 30 banking representatives,
builders, and the news media at a preview gathering. He said the
community has 230 homes and a population of 500, with an annual
disposable income of $1.5 million. He said the disposable income would
reach $8 million when the projected 200homes for 1977 are completed and
Spring Lake is
the fastest growing subdivision in Highlands County, doubling the
construction activity of its nearest competitor. The total investment
at Spring Lake to date is listed at $19.5 million.
SPRING LAKE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
In a Sebring news
article dated October 12, 1981, the groundbreaking for the Spring Lake
United Methodist Church was announced. The story describes how a
Lillian Palmer told people at the consecration of the grounds how she
and her late husband, Duane Palmer, came to Spring Lake in 1930 from
New York. They farmed over 1,000 acres, which eventually became our
Spring Lake community. The Rev. Perry James held the official
groundbreaking ceremonies and Lakeland District Superintendent Dr.
Jimmy Jones led a host of dignitaries from the area. Jones officially
constituted the church on Easer Sunday of 1981 after it was organized
by a Planning Committee, which, the article stated, included Mr. And
Mrs. Reed McLean Jr., Dr. Odell Miley, Freda Hawkins, and others.
Foster Alter was
the administrative Board chairman; Jim Zimmerman headed the building
committee; and Clayton Hall was the finance chairman. The congregation
raised the money to construct a chapel with a multipurpose room on
acres bought in 1979.
article dated February 10, 1982, the newspaper noted the church had
experienced a steady growth in interest and cooperation of members and
friends. A Bible study groups was meeting with Clayton Hall as one of
the teachers. Mrs. John Gill as president was leading an active Women’s
group. Howard Pike was president of the men’s organization.
THE SPRING LAKE BREEZE
In 1973, two
years after the creation of Spring Lake, a group of residents and
business people came together to establish a complimentary newspaper
that was called The Breeze. The original paper was distributed for
about 10 years and then went inactive. In February of 2007 the paper
was re-activated and mailed to each homeowner on a monthly basis. Past
issues of the updated paper can be accessed on the current web site
SPRING LAKE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
On October 3,
1976 about 150 people gathered at the shopping center in the heart of
Spring Lake to formally organize the Spring Lake Presbyterian church.
It was an anticipated moment for people like Mary Yontek, whose husband
had recently died and she needed a project to fill her mind and heart
and the new community needed a church. The Rev. Barbara Yontek, Mary’s
daughter, had contacted St. John’s Presbytery and Jack Ryan, sales
manager of Coral Ridge Properties, developers of Spring Lake, to
suggest the community’s need for a church.
Greenhalgh was first in line to put her name to the document that
petitioned the Presbytery to form the congregation as a church of the
United Presbyterian Church, USA. Forty-nine other people followed,
putting their names to the list of charter members. Before this evening
there had been fifteen months of investigating, searching, and meetings
led by representatives of the Presbytery. Their mission was to
determine if there was sufficient interest in the community to form a
church. Dr. Harry Bryan was the first of these emissaries from Orlando.
Realizing the zeal among residents, Bryan began worship services in
rented quarters at the shopping center. The first was held on December
7, 1975. Neighboring congregations in Sebring, and as far away as
Alabama, supplied resources for worship.
The search for a
permanent pastor ended when the Rev. Paul Stauning, a pastor in
Harrisburg, Pa. accepted the call. He was installed as pastor on
October 2, 1977. With funds given by the Presbytery and raised by the
congregation, the present buildings were dedicated on November 26, 1978.
SPRING LAKE BAPTIST CHURCH
Located at the
intersection of Rt. 98 and Spring Lake Blvd., the Spring Lake Baptist
Church has a unique origin. In November of 1978 Pastor Arthur P. Mann
and his wife arrived at Spring Lake after leaving an established church
in Stevens Point, Michigan. Their objective, as directed by the
Hiawatha Baptist Mission in Grand Rapids was to establish a fundamental
Baptist church in the Spring Lake area.
Upon arriving to
Spring Lake Pastor Mann and his wife began holding services in their
living room and soon had assembled a small but dedicated congregation.
Soon the house was remodeled to accommodate a larger congregation, and
as they grew a church building was inevitable. Within two years of his
arrival Pastor Mann and his group, now grown to 30, managed to purchase
the land the church currently stands on. The land and building required
no outside financial help and was fully supported by the congregation.
The 3,000 square
foot sanctuary, which has seating for 160, was constructed in less than
90 days by a team of five construction missionaries, their wives, and
volunteer helpers from Michigan, Iowa, and Spring Lake.
SPRING LAKE GOLF COURSE
In January 1977,
Coral Ridge Properties Vice-President and General Manager of Spring
Lake announced plans for the construction of an 18-hole golf course
complex. The budget was estimated at $1.5 million with a targeted
completion date of late 1978. Well known golf course builder R.E. (Bob)
Werk, President of American Golf Course Company, was contracted to
construct and operate the facility.
until1978, after negotiations with Werk failed, that David Garard was
hired by Coral Ridge Properties to supervise construction of the golf
course. Old newspaper articles point out “the land was a swamp!” As a
result of the amount of muck, fill from 35 acres of canals were used to
bring the land up above the water level. Despite the unique headaches
involved, the construction steadily progressed to its completion, and
on July 28, 1980, the 18-hole championship layout was opened for play. David and his wife, Inez, managed the golf course for a number of years. He also constructed what is now known as the Bobcat Run course in Spring Lake.
On that first day
of play Spring Lake property owner Douglas Kennedy and his son teed off
to become the first paying golfers to play the course. Next up was a
foursome consisting of Spring Lake residents Charlie Grindle and Ken
Harris with their guest George McMillan, and Spring Lake golf pro Doug
After many years
of success, the golf course was eventually sold at auction in 1985 to
Mike Tellschow, a businessman from West Palm Beach. The addition of a
clubhouse, golf villas, and 18 additional holes of golf over the years
turned the property into a popular Golf Resort, attracting golfers and
buyers from around the United States and Europe.