I would like to take this time during to honor
and remember Jan Stratton, an executive at Universal Orlando and a
key member of community, who passed away last week on Sunday,
Jan gave generously of her energies and talents; she served on
boards for many of Central Florida’s non-profits including the
City’s Parramore Kidz Zone program, Give Kids the World, Valencia
Community College Foundation, Orlando Regional Healthcare Foundation
and the Harbor House of Central Florida… just to name a few.
I am eternally grateful for everything Jan has done for our City.
She will be remembered for the incredible legacy she leaves in
Orlando. She was strongly committed to our community and worked
tirelessly to improve the quality of life throughout our City.
My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends during this
time of transition.
Project Homeless Connect
The City of Orlando is once again partnering with Project Homeless
Connect on Friday, December 10, 2010 at the old Amway Arena. This
one day event offers more than 50 services that are critically
needed by homeless persons in one convenient location.
Services offered include showers, haircuts, meals, shelter,
employment opportunities, mental health and substance abuse
services, Florida ID cards, birth certificate applications, access
to Social Security for claims and replacement cards, legal services
and medical care.
Awards and Presentations
The Lake Eola Heights Historic Neighborhood celebrated their 25th
anniversary by presenting the City of Orlando a $1,100 check for the
restoration of the Lake Eola fountain. Throughout the year,
association members and their families and friends have donated
funds for the fountain reconstruction with the association matching
dollar for dollar.
(L-R) Leon Falcon, Lake Eola Manger; Janet Walker (?), Unknown
Subject, Unknown Subject, District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan,
Mayor Buddy Dyer, Raymond Cox (?).
For photos of the December 6, 2010 City Council
meeting, please visit the
City on Flickr.
Items of Note
Lake Eola Fountain Update
The design for the fountain’s renovations is nearly finished. In
February, work will begin on restoring the fountain back to its
glory as the icon of our City. Completion is expected by June 2011.
The newly improved fountain will include LED lighting, green
Plexiglass skin, lightning protection, electrical and mechanical
upgrades, pump replacement and limited sound system coordination.
Downtown Retail Stimulus Program
On Monday, the City Council approved the creation of a retail
stimulus program in order to attract retail businesses within
Downtown Orlando. This program seeks to make Downtown properties as
financially competitive as area retail centers by supplementing the
tenant improvement allowance made available to retail tenants within
the Area on approved deals and thereby attracting desired retail
businesses. Through this new program, the Community Redevelopment
Agency seeks to achieve a decrease in commercial vacancy, an
increase in property values and enhanced retail, entertainment and
dining options within the area.
The maximum possible grant award is $50,000 (at a rate up to $25 per
square foot), based on program eligibility, budget availability and
would require matching funds from the property owner. Funds will be
dispersed on a reimbursement basis.
Economic Development Organization Funding
The City Council approved funding agreements with three local
economic development organizations. The Black Business Investment
Fund underwrites loans to Black owned businesses and administers the
Economic Gardening Business Loan Pilot Program for small businesses.
They received $106,590 from the City. The Disney Entrepreneur Center
received $74,800 from the city. The Center houses 12 service
providers who assist in accelerating local community diversification
and high-value job growth and attract and create new types of
companies. The Central Florida Sports Commission, a private,
nonprofit organization created to attract international, national
and regional events as well as sports-related business and
activities to the Central Florida area, received $72,349. Due to
the challenging economy and City-wide budget decreases, all three
organizations received 15 percent less than last year.
55 West Arts Space Agreement
City Council approved a 75-year lease of 9,600 square feet at 54
West Church Street for arts space. The space will be used for live
theatre performances, providing additional culture events bringing
more people to the Downtown Orlando area. The rent is free, but the
City And Community Redevelopment Agency will pay a proportionate
share of the maintenance expenses. This will be offset annually by
the rent paid to the City from the 55 West Parking Garage.
Façade Grant Re-instatement
On Monday, the City Council reinstated the façade grant program
through the current fiscal year. The City has allotted $300,000, or
$50,000 for each of our six districts, has been allotted to help
small businesses in the City of Orlando make physical improvements
to their exterior. Applicants can receive up to $20,000 to off-set
improvements such as painting, wall repair or cleaning, window
repair or replacement, new awnings and signage.
This program has helped 39 businesses with façade improvements
including recent improvements at some of our neighborhood favorites,
Cristo’s Café in College Park, InBloom Florist on Gore and
Mediterranean Blue on Michigan.
For information on the program, visit the Economic Development
$20 Million in Local Projects, 300 More Local Jobs
In 2008, as our economy began to slip, we started a program called
“Strengthen Orlando” with one of the aims being local job creation
through expediting a number of public works projects.
We are about to begin, or already have started, roughly $20 million
worth of these projects. The vast majority have been or will be
awarded to local contractors.
Some of the projects involve federal grants including the stimulus.
Others are our own expedited capital improvement projects.
Congestion management on International Drive
Mills Avenue streetscape improvement project
An intelligent transportation system for Downtown Orlando
Based on an analysis of the work being done, these projects will
generate more than 300 jobs in our local community.
For many months now, the City has worked to make sure our City was doing
everything possible to help our residents endure this recession. We
are excited about this group of projects which will put people to
work and help make our City a better place in a number of ways.