BREAKDOWN: 2019 State of the City

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Opening with a funky spoken-word number by Orlando’s own Poet Laureate, Susan Lilley, the 2019 State of the City felt a bit more polished than the previous years and had more than a few nuggets of information we had to share. Here’s a breakdown in the tone of departed friend and mentor, Billy Manes, in honor of the amazing Live Twitter pieces he used to do with Orlando Weekly.

  • Note to makeup artist; that base is not the right tone for Mayor Buddy and his hair needs a bit more body #getmebodied That mermaid tie was totally bangarang though.
  • Emphasis on Orlando being defined on what unites us versus the rest of the nation which is divided (on all the fronts) at this moment in time.
  • A call for a show of hands about what a Smart City is, had roughly ten people throw their hands in the air like they just didn’t care. Mayor Buddy stepped aside to let a video with a local resident share how tech and the concept of Smart Cities came to play in the transformation of their lives; a heart-warming bit with a Parramore-based university student on a Lime Bike talking about how being able to go to school in her own community without having to depend on transit will change her life. “See? Parramore residents love Creative Village,” says The City.
  • That was the last time Parramore was mentioned by its old school sad “depressing” name and from then on it was referred to as “Creative Village.”
  • Orlando is a great spot to launch medical research projects with the expansion of Medical City at Lake Nona, Arnold Palmer, Advent Health’s Health Village in Ivanhoe Village, and Orlando Health in SODO. PS, Lake Nona is the “Fastest Growing Neighborhood in Orlando” and needs a medal, apparently. Cue urbanist boner.
  • We have to be “future ready” everyone! The future is coming! Cue cute video with “BEEP” the autonomous shuttle that goes really slowly and races gopher tortoises in Lake Nona’s parking garage.
  • The “Race to 5G” is equivalent to the race to the moon, says The Mayor. We need it to be super-sexy to tech companies.
  • We’re stepping up our Sustainability game. Ten years ago Mayor Buddy declared that he wanted Orlando to be the “Most Sustainable City in the Southeast.” Now he’s ramping up our goals and setting Orlando up to have 100 percent renewable energy city-wide by 2050 and be a zero-waste city by 2040. The sexy safe word for this special project is ‘solar power.”
  • We’re getting new parks; The Packing District, $800 million revamp of Lorna Doone Park, and two more in the southeast (outside of our coverage area so, whatever).
  • Sportsball – MLS Soccer, renovations at Camping World so we can bid for the cup or something, tennis, and stuff.
  • Main Streets are apparently responsible for over 1,000 small businesses opening in the City of Orlando in the past year. Cue a great video interview with a Puerto Rican entrepreneur (Melvin) who launched a market in the Gateway Orlando Main Street to cater to islanders who moved here after the hurricane.
  • Side Note – The Mayor officially announced that Church Street Main Street is expanding into Parramore and Downtown Orlando. Blink and you’ll miss it.
  • Permitting is a whiz now and you can get approved in 15 days.
  • SunRail is “quite the advantage” for downtown commuters but it’s not the answer! The Mayor wants to connect SunRail to the airport so he can launch weekend service. LYNX has to be improved too, bla bla bla biking, bla bla bla this is a quality of life issue. “We’ll stall like traffic on I-4 if we don’t invest in mobility.”
  • Affordable Housing … we stopped listening until Mayor Buddy said “micro-housing.”
  • So, roughly 90 percent of chronically homeless individuals have homes now but the number of people in precarious housing is rising. So Mayor Buddy and friends have invested over $3 million to look for solutions. Great video of a city employee’s triumph over adversity, but that music was a little heavy. Great example of the City’s partnership with Goodwill Industries though.
  • Three more fire stations are getting renovated and will include quarters and restrooms for women.
  • There was a 50 percent reduction in residential burglaries in the past 4 years. So settle down Nextdoor!
  • Commissioner Stuart had back surgery and couldn’t make the event so we have to send out some healing joo-joo for him over the next few days.
  • Mayor Buddy signed off saying, “The State of our City is strong, unified, and ready to own the future. Thank you, God Bless America and God Bless the City of Orlando.” Cue standing ovation and mayoral handshaking.

Watch the entire State of the City address above for yourself.

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