Wellen Park hosts local Rotary Clubs for symbolic tree planting ceremony

VENICE, Fla. (June 16, 2022) – Wellen Park recently hosted representatives from eight local Rotary Clubs, the City of North Port and local Ukrainian community groups to plant five pine trees, donated by People for Trees to symbolize peace and community roots and in recognition of the local Ukrainian community.

David Pankiw, president-elect of the Venice-Nokomis Rotary Club and a second-generation American of Ukrainian descent, led the tree planting planning efforts with community support. He has been involved with Rotary for 31 years. Understanding and respecting other cultures, which includes the Ukrainian tree planting project, is important to Pankiw.

“Understanding is one way we can work toward peace,” said Pankiw.

Local Rotary Clubs have held tree plantings in past years in connection with the Greening Planet Global Initiative, a Ukraine-based effort that is focused on bringing together 100 million people globally around planting trees. This year’s tree planting holds increased significance with the current events taking place in Ukraine.

“We’re honored to support our local Rotarians and host an event that promotes community and peace,” said Rick Severance, president of Wellen Park. “This tree planting community gave our community a chance to come together for a worthy and important cause. Community connections and the natural environment are fundamental to the heart and soul of Wellen Park, and both are part of what makes the community such an appealing place to live.”

The participating Rotary Clubs included the Venice-Nokomis Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Venice Suncoast, Rotary Club of North Port Central, Rotary Club of Rotonda West, Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary, Rotary Club of Englewood, Rotary Club of Englewood Sunset and Rotary Club at Wellen Park. With guidance from landscapers, participants dug holes and planted the trees behind the Wellen Park Welcome Center at the northeast corner of Market Way and Sunglow Boulevard.

The Wellen Park Welcome Center overlooks Downtown Wellen, the vibrant central hub and gathering place currently under construction. The pedestrian-friendly mixed-use destination offers retail shops, waterfront dining, medical offices, beauty and professional services, public community spaces, and outdoor recreational opportunities. The on-site Kind Vibes Outfitters rents kayaks, paddleboards, e-bikes and regular bikes for exploring downtown’s 80-acre Grand Lake and 2.8-mile lake-circling trail.

Designed for connections to nature and community, Downtown Wellen also offers a hammock grove and a lounge area underneath a nearly century-old heritage oak tree, a fountain and splashpad, a nature-inspired playground, the waterfront Solis Hall events venue and the Great Lawn for community festivals, markets, celebrations, picnics and playtime.

Diners will discover a variety of cuisine choices – from new American and Italian, steak and seafood to super-premium ice cream, pizza and tavern fare. Restaurants include the flagship The Banyan House nestled along Grand Lake, Mirabella’s Italian Coastal Cuisine, Oak & Stone Craft Beer & Artisan Pizza, Villani & Co. Steak Seafood Raw Bar and Bright Ice. The Yard, a collection of shipping containers retrofitted as food kiosks, expands casual food and beverage options with counter service, an outdoor seating area and activity center.

Also coming to Downtown Wellen are Breakwater Home Fashions, Paint Nail Bar, Capstan Financial Consulting Group, Florida Lakes Vein Center, Florida Lakes Spa, and Dr. Jeffrey Seymour Smiles Orthodontics.

Luxury rental apartments at Tropia and world-class independent, assisted living and memory care at Grand Living are also under construction. A boutique hotel is also planned for Downtown Wellen.

 “Countdown to Downtown,” a monthslong series of special events and pop-up experiences celebrating Downtown Wellen, continues through the summer. Past events have featured craft artisans, fitness and wellness experts, painting parties, book clubs and a three-course wine dinner.

Wellen Park offers a mix of residential, commercial and recreational options. The community currently has approximately 9,500 residents, and at full build-out will have more than 50,000 residents and 22,500 homes within its three distinct districts: West Villages, Downtown Wellen and Playmore.

To learn more about living at Wellen Park, call 941-960-7805, go to or visit the Welcome Center at 12275 Mercado Drive in Venice, Fla. The Welcome Center is open Monday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Jennifer Hamilton, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR, 239-275-5758, [email protected]

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