Made in the Waterside shade at Lakewood Ranch as landscaping completes the entertainment hub. | East County
Jason Rinard, a director of Tampa-based civil engineer Kempton Rinard, walked down Waterside Place while workers added the finishing touches to the entertainment center.
He was asked what sets the Waterside Place landscaping project apart from the many others that have been carried out by his company.
“Perhaps the extent,” said Rinard as a smile spread across his face. “It had it all, a lot of different concepts, water, an 8 hectare park, smaller parks, street landscapes.”
After Willis Smith Construction completed construction in May, Kempton Rinard’s landscaping is the final piece of the Waterside Place puzzle. Rinard estimated the landscaping would be completed in July.
Business owners are working on upgrading their respective spaces, and Monaca Onstad, the director of community relations for the Lakewood Ranch Communities, said the Lakewood Ranch market, currently held every Sunday in the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center parking lot, is targeting a move to Waterside Place in August when the first rental is expected to open.
Onstad emphasized that there was no specific date for the move as “so many factors are still in play”.
However, over the past month, Waterside’s outdoor aesthetic has taken shape.
The journey for Kempton Rinard began at the end of 2018. The Schroeder-Manatee Ranch laid the foundation stone for the project on October 4th, 2018, but the planning for the project was still in progress.
“When we got in there was already a lot of history,” said Rinard, who said his company had never worked with SMR. “But everyone came together to make it happen. Everyone was a team player and the customer (SMR) wasn’t afraid to spend money.”
Rinard said this was an easy transition into the project for his company as he already had a relationship with SMR project leader Roger Aman, who had worked with Kempton Rinard when he was planning director for WCI communities.
At the entrance to Waterside Place, Rinard looked to his right at Gateway Park, a circular amphitheater originally planned as a playground. It was the kind of give and take that Rinard said his company experienced after they joined the team. He thought the entry point would be better served with a park that could host small events or just as a sitting area to enjoy the lake view.
“They try to be respectful of the ideas that come on the table,” he said. “And we worked it out together as a team. Gateway Park became a unique landmark with seats and walls.”
Rinard said SMR was okay to ditch one plan when another would be better.
Just down the street from Gateway Park is what Rinard says is called Second Park. It turned into an area with artificial turf that can host various games like cornhole. It will have overhead festival lighting for extra atmosphere.
When the main thoroughfare reaches the lake and turns left, you’ll find Merchants Park with its open-air pavilion lounge seating. It will host live bands and other events and is probably one of the most photographed locations on Waterside Place.
In total, Waterside has five smaller parks and the 8-acre park that Rinard calls a “monster”.
“There’s a lot of flexible space,” he said. “That was the leading factor.”
Kempton Rinard also designed the extra wide walkways to accommodate tables and umbrellas when companies wanted an outside presence. The trees were lined with dome oaks, palms and other plants, because “shade is of course a big thing”.
“We wanted to create pockets (between buildings) where you can see the water,” he said. “You could do a yoga workout or have a cup of coffee and have access to the water. We wanted a comfortable pedestrian zone and SMR wanted to create program elements that would keep people here for a while. Or if you are waiting for a restaurant, you can go for a walk in a park. “
The splash pad built in Inselpark will be within sight of restaurants and pubs on the other side of the bridge so parents can keep an eye on their children. At the entrance to Waterside Place, next to the public toilets, a number of bike racks were set up. The stainless steel wire fence running along the lake allows a view of the lake, regardless of whether a person is sitting or not. Fountains that arise in the lake are illuminated at night. Multi-colored LED lighting around Waterside Place adds to the atmosphere.
Kempton Rinard came up with the idea for the marina and a floating dock that will launch kayaks and water taxis.
“We learn in every project,” said Kinard. “It was a great experience across the board.
“But our best reward will be seeing how people interact here.”