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Let’s Get Positive!

We need positive leadership and I ask you to step forward to demand same, even run for city commission, to assure we don’t miss the boat.

When you look past the empty complaints and “us-them” dynamic in our political discourse (not to mention lies and slander) you will find that Winter Park is the best it has ever been, both strategically and financially.

  • Property values at an all time high.
  • City cash reserves at an all time high.
  • Capital improvements adding to our quality of life.
    • Golf course and golf course parking.
    • 55 acres of new green space in Howell Branch Reserve.
    • “Quiet Zone” reducing train noise.
    • Tennis Center improvements.
    • …. and much, much more.
  • CRA funds exploding with $29,000,000 in opportunities to be identified and funded between now and 2027, only eight years from now. (Watch this video for information about the Winter Park CRA.) About half the CRA money comes from Orange County taxes and must be invested within the boundaries of the CRA area.

We need positive, experienced leadership to assure opportunities are taken advantage of wisely. CRA funds are a great place to start positively engaging our citizens and in making real progress. We will have the money and it must be allocated to projects annually before the CRA expires in 2027. It must all be spent by 2030. Let’s make sure it is invested!

The first and most obvious opportunity is the Library/Event Center project. While the naysayers continue to complain without offering any alternative (other than throwing away your money), you and I are paying back $28,000,000 in borrowed funds with nothing, yet, to show for it.

As your commissioner I voted against the selected architect (the only member of the architect selection committee and city commission to do so). But, unlike some, I accept and respect the process and am in full support of the project, even to the point of spending substantial CRA dollars to make certain the end result meets Winter Park standards. If it takes even $5,000,000 more dollars from CRA funds to make this project the best it can be, let’s do it! Making this project the best it can be is in the long term interest of every resident.

Let’s spend what it takes to make MLK park the best it can be too! Let’s improve the paths, playground, fields, lighting, etc. to integrate the park and the library/event center.

Let’s seriously consider spending what it takes to convert the existing library facility into a new Winter Park City Hall, freeing up the existing city hall property to add long term value to the tax rolls to finance police, fire, parks, etc. (keeping our taxes low while improving services). We can consider land leasing the Park Ave. property for well defined development of retail, office, and residential that compliments Park Ave. The Sun Trust Center was controversial at the time but the result has been nothing but positive for Winter Park. Let’s open our minds to the possibilities and plan a great project here that fits Winter Park!

Let’s seriously consider using CRA funds to underground parking at our Sun Rail station and put green space on top! We should also pursue the US Post Office property at a fair market price using CRA funds. Can you see the long term benefits of expanding Central Park fully on the West side of the tracks?

These are NOT pipe dreams! They are real investments we can make using CRA dollars coming from Orange County that will prove amazing long term assets for Winter Park.

Recruit and support candidates for the March 2020 commission election who are committed to positive leadership, to working together to realize the significant opportunities in front of us!

Do you support these thoughts for using CRA funds for long term investments and what are your ideas? Let’s get the ball rolling!

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Policy.


6 Responses

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  1. Rick Frazee says

    Pete
    I have to agree with you Pete It’s time to get past all the complaints about how we go to this point and move forward in a positive maner to make the new Library/Events Center the best it can be. Our City of Winter Park deserves the best Library center it can be.

  2. Pitt Warner says

    Just like the people who envisioned a college, a Central Park, a train station, I look forward to supporting a candidate who has this type of vision and willingness to present it. These CRA funds can be the foundation of the future, but there needs to be a plan that benefits the city. The $ is sitting there, there is no need to raise taxes and with careful preparation a well thought out plan can produce benefits for many years.

  3. Dick Weiner says

    Pete,
    Solid, positive thinking….good to see.
    A request: My street, Greentree Drive needs trees badly. Many were cut down in the last two years. Looking to future generations, now is the time to plant them. Who do I contact concerning this situation?
    Dick Weiner
    407 234 8940

  4. Curtis Hanson, JD says

    The CRA boundary should be expanded south to include further down Denning and the Orange/Fairbanks intersection so the long north to south swath of land next to old PR’s restaurant and continuing across Fairbanks going behind the Goodwill and adjacent to Power Point Property can be used to elevate railroad tracks over bridge to get across Orange/Fairbanks. Would greatly improve traffic and safety. Maitland has similar bridge for railroad near Mercedes Dealership over 17-92. My father Harlan Hanson, wrote original CRA and believes the CRA could be amended and he would help effectuate that project. He has spoken to Bronson and Briggs in Planning Dept already.

  5. Laura Armstrong says

    Pete, all of these are great suggestions.