WINTER HAVEN — Local leaders and members of the public gathered last week as the City of Winter Haven held a dedication and ribbon cutting for its new Lake Howard Dock and its 7th Street Improvement Project on October 23.

During a ceremony to commemorate the new dock, city commissioner J.P. Powell remarked that the dock would be accessible for residents by land, water and even air, as it was designed to be able to dock seaplanes at.

It was a theme that several of those who spoke at the event picked up on, embracing the Chain of Lakes City’s unique transportation legacy.

“This dock provides a showcase of what Winter Haven lifestyle is really all about,” Powell said to applause.

Rather than reaching deep into the lake, the pier runs along the shore of Lake Howard, with three access points for residents, two gazebos, a floating pier to dock seaplanes or boats and places for residents to fish.

As gathered leaders cut the ribbon on the dock, which was constructed by Everett Whitehead & Son and Larry Gohn Marine Construction, the Cypress Garden Water Ski Team formed a pyramid and rode along the lake’s shore.

After the festivities concluded at the dock, those assembled made the short walk from site to 7th Street NW, where a second ceremony was held to recognize the $2.6 million project that repaved the road, adding a new sidewalk on the west side of the street and a multipurpose trail on the east side, along with improved landscaping, lighting and signage.

“The town grew up around this neighborhood,” Winter Haven Commissioner William Twyford said of the neighborhood between the portion of U.S. 17 that runs adjacent to downtown Winter Haven and Lake Howard, where the project was done. “The location of this project is of great significance.”

Twyford also indicated to those gathered that city staff have seen an uptick in interest for private investment in the neighborhood.

Winter Haven City Manager Mike Herr also spoke, thanking the city commission and others involved with the project, and noting that when he came on board as city manager in June of 2017, the commission and residents had a list of eight civic projects — including the dock and the 7th Street Improvement Project — that were immediately put on the to-do list for him and his staff.

“It’s our job and we’re pleased to say that every one one of those projects are finished,” Herr said. “I’m very proud of this team.”


Contact Steven Ryzewski at


Load comments