CASSELBERRY, Florida – It has been a staple in the heart of Casselberry for decades and now city leaders are securing the future of the Brightwater Estate.
The historic home was owned by Casselberry founder Hibbard Casselberry. Earlier this year, executives bought the property to save it from potential development and make it a place for everyone.
Dr Deborah Bauer, Florida historian and founder and president of the Society for Historic Casselberry, said the property has historical significance.
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âThe house, which was built in 1952, is one of the few remaining residential structures designed by James Gamble Rogers II,â Bauer said.
The future of the property was uncertain after the death of Casselberry’s son in 2019.
City Manager Randy Newlon said the potential development could have turned the 12 acres of land along the shore of South Lake Triplet into single-family homes.
âWe have sought to preserve the property,â Newlon said.
The city bought the property earlier this year for $ 1.25 million. Newlon said plans include restoring the historic mansion and transforming it into a venue for weddings and other gatherings. Plans also include making the property a passive park with walking trails and a botanical garden.
The city hired a consulting firm that provided executives with an update on the design plans last week. The community had the opportunity to have their say, including making changes to parking on the site.
âWe think it has the potential to be a great place. I think it will be a very successful event venue. I think that would attract a lot of people to the city who don’t know it yet, âNewlon said.
Bauer said she viewed the property not only as a place the community could enjoy in the future, but also as a way to remember the past.
âIt will be something that will also have an aspect of historic preservation,â said Bauer. “It will be a place where people can enjoy the gardens, they can take advantage of educational opportunities and they really have a place where they can go and be at peace.”
There is no deadline for the restoration of the historic house and the transformation of the property into a passive park. City leaders said future meetings will be scheduled, including to work on design plans. Newlon adds that the city is still working on funding.
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