The construction of I-95 was the genesis for Summer

Lakes, when two large, recreational lakes – now the central

feature of Summer Lakes – were created by contractors who

utilized dirt from the Cocoa Ranch during the construction

process.


DUDA CEO and President Joseph Duda noted that “the

larger, central lake was dug in the 1960s and the fill was used

for building I-95. The southern lake was built later, in the

1970s, to help construct the Fiske Boulevard interchange and

overpass.” The large central lake and smaller adjacent lake to

the south were originally completely separated by a strip of

land that still exists today, but the once overgrown berm has

been transformed into a landscaped and lighted pedestrian

walkway with a bridge.


“It was always a beautiful spot with large oak trees and

a cool breeze off the lakes which made it a natural choice

for our company and family picnics and events. We built a

pavilion on the west side of the lakes to accommodate these

events,” recalls Duda.


In the early 1970s, DUDA elected to share the beauty

of the area by obtaining a Ramada Camp Inn franchise and

developed the site into a beautiful campground, with a general

store and office and well thought out camp sites carefully

placed around the lake for privacy. Joseph Duda’s daughter,

Valerie Duda-Miller, remembers the campground well. She

recalls the camp was always a great destination for her and her

sister, Donna, during their family stays at the ranch. “There

was a rope swing at the lake and a floating dock we liked to play

on, and we would ride our bikes across the dirt road (now

Stadium Parkway) over to the camp’s general store to buy candy

or an ice cream bar.”


In the early 1980s, the site was leased to a pastor

who turned the campground into Camp Biblia – a Christian

campground. The site was also utilized by the Brevard County

Sheriff’s Department for training their dive team. An old boat

and car were sunk in the southeast corner of the large lake to

provide divers with a realistic rescue practice environment.

By the late 1980s, Camp Biblia had closed and the Duda

family and Cocoa Ranch employees resumed use of the site

for recreational gatherings. For most of the third and fourth

generation Duda family members, the area will probably

always be known as Lake Biblia or Camp Biblia.

 

Family members used the lake as a retreat during the

1990s, erecting several temporary trailers on the property.

The smaller central lake was even used as part of DUDA’s

aquaculture operations, providing habitat for floating fish

pens anchored at the southern end. During this time, the

camp’s general store was repurposed for use as The Viera

Company’s first onsite office. Duda recalls that the building

also served as the launching place for the congregation of

Faith Viera. “On Sundays, when our office was closed, the

congregation would meet in our conference room,” he said.

“They continued to meet there even after we moved our

offices into our building on Murrell Road.”

 

As Viera gained momentum, it became clear that the

land the family referred to as Camp Biblia, like the rest of

the family’s beloved Cocoa Ranch, would soon have to be

shared with the public. In 2000, The Viera Company began

to formulate plans for developing the site into a large lot

community. It was important to The Viera Company and the

Duda family that this special site be developed in a manner

that preserved its natural beauty.

In the end, what resulted is a community that is unlike

any other in Viera. Summer Lakes represents distinguished

estate living in a natural setting.

 

 

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