Project DTO

We posted our summary of what Project DTO, the downtown task-force, is looking at changing in Downtown Orlando but here’s the complete list of opportunities identified by the committees that presented last week.

They will be publishing a full vision plan for Downtown Orlando in October.

Arts & Culture

  • More “first, best and unique” art/cultural festivals in neighborhoods thru “districts”
  • Infrastructure design that encourages art plazas, walkable streets, destinations for performance and experiences both day and night.
  • Easy transportation connections from downtown to Loch Haven (Paths, Sunrail, Lymmo)
  • Re-design of Loch Haven Park to encourage outdoor dining and entertainment experiences to go along with the museums and theatre experience.
  • Sunrail and the “I-4 redesign” to provide art connections and experiences (bridge district under I-4)
  • Redesign of Lake Eola Amphitheater to make it a unique and active destination.
  • Encouragement of great architectural buildings, especially a modern museum of art with innovative architectural design.
  • Performing Arts Magnet School in downtown location.
  • Creation of theatre and music districts.
  • Concentration on design that encourages grouping of similar ethnic shops, restaurants, entertainment and art (provide start up incentives).
  • Encouragement of creative pop-up artistic endeavors with easy government approvals.
  • Digital communication for arts and events.
  • Fine arts events.
  • Murals along Sunrail line.
  • LED/arts related lighting to make downtown more attractive at night.
  • Forming a strong brand and partnership with Visit Orlando for advertising downtown as a destination.
  • Developing an Arts Master Plan.
  • Creating a large scale signature event.
  • Providing additional museums (partner with Orlando Library).
  • Updating the public/private sector funding ordinance.
  • Streamlining permitting and funding processes.
  • Fostering a philanthropic arts minded organization.
  • Creating active partnerships between arts and private/public sector.
  • Modifying codes to encourage public art and destinations for performance and experiences.
  • Modifying codes to encourage creative signage and street presence.
  • Providing for arts in education.
  • Continuing support for See Art Orlando public art initiative.
  • Creating an Orlando Arts and Cultural Affairs office with a creative director to oversee and execute arts and culture initiatives in the city, including an Arts Master Plan.

Neighborhoods & Historic Preservation

  • Market our historic neighborhoods with short video clips on the City website with link to “View our City Beautiful”
  • Job growth – new employment opportunities along Church Street Corridor, specifically at intersection of OBT and Church St
  • Reinforce physical and social connections between east and west neighborhoods
  • Infill available vacant lots with housing (Parramore) in concentrated locations
  • Development of Creative Village
  • Encourage more housing in downtown neighborhood
  • Find funding sources to build more mixed income housing
  • Use success of historic districts to help market/uplift other areas such as Arlington Concord Neighborhood
  • Fixing up the Neighborhood Program (FUN)
  • Outreach int neighborhoods (Parramore Lake Dot, and Eola South) to create neighborhood associations
  • Plant more trees in CRA area, especially on the west side
  • Establish program to bury utilities underground for safety, aesthetics, etc.


  • Ensure the great walking environment of Lake Eola radiates out to other places – within downtown and nearby districts
  • Make the I-4 Ultimate Expansion work for DTO
  • Expand the possibilities
    • Strengthen SunRail and Lymmo
    • Backbone for connections between DT & regional destinations
    • Parking management
    • Shared travel (bike, car, other)
  • Dedicated funding is critical

Urban Amenities & Open Spaces

  • Create green corridor along Bridge District (north/south) with connections to other green spaces (east/west).
  • Activate areas under I-4 with recreation uses.
  • Convert Magnolia Avenue to a pedestrian corridor as an entry to the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts.
  • Redesign Lake Eola Park to maximize use/uses.
  • Locate a new park north of Colonial Avenue to serve emerging residential areas.
  • Re-design several plaza areas to create more inviting gathering spaces.
  • Provide a wider variety of recreational opportunities.
  • Convert LYMMO to an open trolley concept
  • Modify streetscape guidelines to allow and encourage additional activities along street corridors;
  • Modify development guidelines to better define urban nodes and centers;
  • Develop strategies to create new open spaces to meet the active and passive recreation needs of users;
  • Coordinate with Green Works Orlando to incorporate sustainability measures int open spaces.

Social Fabric

  • More interactive, colorful play areas. Ex. A fountain feature for kids to play in while parents relax in the shade would be a nice addition to downtown
  • More shade structures will als help to provide comfortable areas for kids and parents to recreate.
  • Kid/family-friendly events. Ex. Movie matinees specifically geared toward children
  • Support idea of “Cradle to Career” education. Need to nurture love of Orlando from a young age. Sports teams can be a huge aspect of this.
  • Expanding Lymmo to reach senior centers
  • Affordable senior housing
  • Senior-focused activities, events
  • Sidewalk assessment to locate areas that may be dangerous for seniors due to cracks or unevenness
  • Changing the perception of how people see homeless by humanizing homelessness – perhaps through weekly bios in the newspaper of a homeless person living downtown and their story
  • Pamphlet to handout with inf about shelters, food handouts, donation centers to improve public awareness of facilities/opportunities provided
  • Faith community to be leaders during times of need
  • Identify what exists in the civic/social world and determine how to work together
  • Faith-based community to work together better – there used to be a downtown churches organization
  • Making volunteerism easy – Hands On Orlando
  • Study impact of social fabric on health – feeling connected to community has health benefits
  • Urban agriculture – access healthy foods and improving social connections
  • Add new youth sports programming aimed at all ages and genders to not only imbue pride in the youth club but als teach healthy life choices. Orlando City Soccer is implementing free soccer clinics in Parramore

Urban Lifestyle and Tourism

  • Add more shoppers to get more retail
  • Create a great place for locals, and tourists will come for the authentic urban experience
  • Make downtown look/feel as safe as it actually is
  • Increase awareness of downtown as a destination
  • Continue efforts to increase the downtown resident population and job base
  • Identify key locations to encourage retail that targets these market segments
  • Avoid creating false pressure on retail through high expectations
  • Continue efforts to publicize and simplify parking availability (smartphone app, signage, etc.)
  • Get weekend SunRail service added
  • Explore marketing strategies and coordination with Visit Orlando
  • Downtown-specific themes and campaign highlighting its assets
  • Explore potential to dedicate downtown-generated tourist tax funds to downtown initiatives
  • Target the development of more convention/meeting space that capitalizes on downtown’s assets and market position
  • Consider ways to streamline the events approval process and encourage new events
  • Consider the development of an iconic event/festival that would draw national attention
  • For planning purposes, formally designate a multi-block area near Amway Arena and the soccer stadium as a visitor-oriented retail/entertainment district
  • Leverage the potential of the proposed UCF downtown campus
  • Help to implement new approaches to the homeless population and continue proactive police strategies


  • Open spaces should meet multiple goals: Recreation and connectivity
    • Tree canopy cover
    • Air quality improvement Urban agriculture
    • Water features
  • Downtown needs to use space efficiently to layer in sustainability features:
    • Stormwater amenities and water quality improvements Green roof implementation
    • Building retrofits for energy efficiency and recycling
    • Waste reuse
    • Solar roofs and other locations for panels Electric vehicle charging stations

Economic Competitiveness

  • Develop free convening space(s) for: Business/tech gatherings and collaboration
  • Creative classes
  • Community events
  • Would need to determine appropriate strategy, scale, and uses for a Downtown Orlando facility
  • Public/private/nonprofit partnerships
  • Opportunity with Creative Village and UCF campus?
  • Small business and
  • entrepreneurship initiatives by
  • public/nonprofit sector: Incentives
  • Incubators/accelerators
  • Assistance and training
  • Networking and community- building
  • Potential synergies with the Orlando Tech Association
  • Tapping int the region’s wealth
  • “Reinvest in Orlando” fund: matching grants to enhance amenities, venture
  • capital for startups
  • Building connections and increasing awareness
  • Related to physical environment, personal/business connections, marketing Connect Parramore with economic opportunities
  • Links to other DT committees
  • Leverage downtown UCF campus if it happens

Downtown Identity

  • Technology + Social Media + Buzz Generator:
    • Keep pace with growing Tech Community & Creative Village – dedicated resources
    • Hire a full-time dedicated Digital Media Officer (Ex. State of NY Chief Digital Officer)
    • Engage digital ambassadors and curate special experiences
  • “Social Connector” forDTO.
    • Crowd-funded position to focus on DTO’s social/event/experiences. Similar position for arts community.
  • App development contest
    • Home-grown tech stars or companies create a fun lifestyle app that shows you how to make the most of your DT experience – from parking and restaurants to business locators and apartments for rent.
  • Ambassador Program
    • Designed to strengthen our business and lifestyle brand
    • Visitors, re-locators, and even locals could use this
    • If you are thinking of moving Downtown, connect with an Orlandoan who can give you an insider’s tour of DTO
    • Occurs in person and online
    • Locate multiple Orlandoans willing to serve as ambassadors and create an official
    • title for these people s there is a sense of pride in serving as one
  • Support connections and neighbors meeting neighbors (Ex. Next Door)
  • Develop visual links across the districts
  • Orlando Citrus Festival
    • Think History. Think Cherry Blossoms. Think Folks Flocking from Afar.
    • Annual Citrus Festival to celebrate Orlando’s history – Why? Citrus built Orlando
    • Idea: Plant orange trees on Orange Avenue and every DT neighborhood District
  • Open Streets
    • Street closure one weekend per month to foster healthy living and DT quality of life – – walkability, families, dogs, fun! (think Lincoln Road in Miami Beach)
  • Less red tape to create events
  • Dedicated marketing budget to promote DTO

Join the Conversation


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  1. This is a much better breakdown compared to what the OBJ printed in the past couple of days. It actually gives me hope that there are opportunities in the mix

  2. Orlando ranked last out of 30 metro areas for walk ability so anything that will address this would be awesome.

  3. Looks like a great brain storming session, let’s hope they don’t water down the implementation.

  4. We have a performing arts magnet middle school at Howard Middle School (OCPS)! Pressure to make it a 6-12 school would be AWESOME–showing that the neighbors are behind the idea would make a big difference. It is an amazing school where great things are happening. Come see for yourself any time!