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
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.
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.
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.”
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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