Chief Paul Rooney’s 25th Anniversary
Monday, I was honored to personally surprise one of our City
employees with their 25 years of service pin and recognition. Chief
Paul Rooney is a 25-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department
and was appointed by me on June 1, 2011, to serve as the City of
Orlando’s 37th Chief of Police. Prior to being appointed as Chief of
Police, he served as Commander of the Patrol Services Bureau, the
largest Bureau of the Orlando Police Department consisting of more
than 400 sworn and 32 civilian employees. During his 25 years at OPD,
Chief Rooney has worked in just about every division within the
Orlando Police Department.
Commissioner Ings Birthday
I would like to take a moment and wish Commissioner Ings a Happy
Birthday. His birthday is Tuesday, December 13th.
ORLANDO CARES Last Wednesday, I joined with ORLANDO CARES partners Junior
Achievement, Heart of Florida United Way and Orange County Public
Schools to launch the two latest Cities of Service initiatives, Path
Finders and the Interfaith School Turnaround Project.
Path Finders is an after-school opportunity for students to develop
a path toward a successful future through career exposure, self
exploration and academic planning.
The Interfaith School Turnaround Project will connect the classroom
and interfaith community through tutoring, mentoring and volunteer
service to improve student achievement, attendance and behavior.
Orlando is one of 20 cities, nationally, to receive a Cities of
Service Leadership Grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and
Bloomberg Philanthropies. To date, the city currently has four
active programs, engaging more than 800 youths in educational and
crime prevention programs through the Orlando Cares initiative.
The holiday season is a special time of year -- filled with family,
friends and community.
As we enjoy another holiday season filled with the hustle and bustle
of shopping, parties and decorations, I want to remind everybody
that the holidays are also a great time to help those less
fortunate. Many of our Central Florida neighbors are in need this
In the spirit of the season, I launched ORLANDO SHARES, a community
campaign to encourage every resident and business to do what you can
to make someone else’s holidays a little brighter.
Here are a few ways to show that ORLANDO SHARES:
• Support the Community Food and Outreach Center’s initiative to
help Central Florida families who are in need due to the NBA lockout
• Volunteer at a local non-profit
• Organize a food or toy drive at your office, school or place of
• Think and buy local when doing your holiday shopping
• Share your skills with those needing help with money management
and/or job readiness
• Donate to your favorite charity providing services to those in
• Adopt a local family in need
I hope the winter holidays bring joy and special times to you and
Windsor Cove Apartment Community Christmas Party
This Thursday at 6 p.m., I will join Commissioner Lynum and local
residents from the Windsor Cove Apartment community as they
celebrate the holiday season at the Windsor Cove Christmas Party
hosted by the Orlando Police Department.
The Windsor Cove Apartment Community has undergone a dramatic
transformation through a partnership with the City and the Orlando
Police Department over the past three years. The neighborhood has
gone from a source of violent crime, drugs and even a triple-killing
in 2008 to a community that is committed to becoming a safe
Two Exciting Bowl Game Match-Ups at the Citrus Bowl
On Thursday, December 29 at 5:30pm the Florida State Seminoles and
the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will face off in the Champs Sports
Bowl. Bowl officials have announced the game is already sold-out -
the first time in its 22-year history.
Fresh into the New Year, the Nebraska Cornhuskers will take on the
South Carolina Gamecocks at the Capital One Bowl on Monday, January
2 at 1pm.
Creative Village Update
We have exciting news to share about the Creative Village project.
If you’ll recall, our development agreements with Creative Village
Development called for demolition of the Amway Arena to commence on
or before this Thursday, December 15, and we are actually a little
bit ahead of schedule.
The construction fencing is up and asbestos remediation has begun.
The two main contractors doing work on the site (BFA and Mike’s
Ironworks) currently are both locally-owned and one is
minority-owned – both in line with the City’s BLUEPRINT initiative.
Creative Village Development has received bids for the rest of the
demolition work and expects to select a contractor by the end of the
month. Through the end of January/beginning of February, much of the
work will be done on the interior of the building…with the exterior
work to follow in the following months.
This is one step toward fulfilling the vision for the Creative
Village and creating a place where high-tech companies and their
employees want to locate and live. Again, studies estimate that the
Creative Village will create 6,500 jobs during construction and
5,000 permanent jobs at build-out.
While the Creative Village is a long-term project, we have made
significant strides in recent months, and we hope you’ll stay
informed about the project, by visiting cityoforlando.net/creativevillage
often for updates.
National Night Out Update
The National Association of Town Watch has selected the City of
Orlando Police Department as the National Night Out 1st place winner
in Category 2, which are cities with a populations from 100,000 -
This past August, neighborhoods throughout Orlando joined forces
with 15,325 communities nationwide for the 28th Annual National
Night Out (NNO) crime and drug prevention event. OPD has placed in
the top winning categories for the last 17 years, but this is the
first time OPD has been in first place.
National Night Out is a great example of the partnership of citizens
and police working together to combat crime. I would like to
congratulate all our neighborhoods that participated to make these
events a success and encourage even more neighborhoods to
participate next year. Your hard work truly makes a difference and
our City an even safer place to live, work and raise a family.
Items of Note
Mad Cow Theater
On Monday’s agenda, the City Council voted on several items tied to
the relocation and build out of Mad Cow Theatre. Mad Cow Theatre is
one of Orlando’s most respected professional theatre companies
presenting compelling works for a wide-range of audiences. As part
of the CRA’s agreement with 55 West, the developer agreed to provide
arts space within the building and the City is entering into a
sublease agreement with Mad Cow Theatre for this space. The sublease
agreement requires the City to complete build out of the space and
as part of that process, the City is taking steps to ensure the best
use of this space and the timely build out of the theatre. It’s
anticipated that Mad Cow Theatre will bring more than 200 shows
annually to the Church Street Entertainment District in the Downtown
Housing CDBG Funding Items
On today’s agenda there are also several housing items that
represent the City's commitment to use its Community Development
Block Grant (CDBG) funds to support Orlando residents with health
care, employment training, housing counseling, substance abuse
treatment and weatherization of homes for our senior citizens.
Museums on Us
On today’s agenda is a partnership opportunity with Bank of America
and the City’s Mennello Museum of American Art. Bank of America card
holder customers will receive free admission on the first full
weekend of each month in 2012 to the museum. Bank of America will
promote the museum and the program at no cost to the City.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and Solar Installation
Today, we have two agenda items that will continue to further our
Green Works Orlando initiative. We are approving an amendment to our
agreement with OUC today to provide two more electric vehicle
charging stations in the city. The stations will be located at Leu
Gardens and will be installed and operated at no cost to the City.
The City is also approving the use of federal grant dollars to
install solar power cells at city facilities -- which are estimated
to save taxpayers nearly a million dollars over the next 25 years.
In partnership with OUC and a private developer, we will install the
solar cells at our fleet and facilities compound on Westmoreland
Shingle Creek Trail
Today, the City voted to award the Design for a segment of the
Shingle Creek Trail. The City has been a leader in the efforts to
complete this important regional trail. The City of Orlando has
already completed 5 miles of the trail and this award will start the
design for another 2.5 miles using Federal Grant Funding through
This project was recently cited by the US Department of Interior as
one of the 100 most promising projects of its kind in the nation.
Only two were named for each state, so we are honored for its
inclusion and the recognition of the City's Leadership in improving
the quality of life for residents of Central Florida.
Domestic Partnership Registry
At its second reading, the City Council unanimously approved the
Domestic Partnership Registry. The ordinance established a registry
which defines domestic partnership, outlines the registration
process and provides an overview of protections provided within a
domestic partnership that has been recognized by the City of
Those protections include:
• Hospital visitation
• Rights to health care decisions
• Correctional facility visitation
• Rights to funeral/burial decisions
• Guardianship and the right for both domestic partners to
participate in the education of their children
The City of Orlando would be the first government in Central Florida
to take this important step to help give same-sex couples some of
the same, basic rights that other couples in committed relationships