It’s been a weird year and it gets tough to keep track of all of the things that have been happening at a local level, so we’re launching a new series called Mayor Minutes” where we go straight to the City Halls in Central Florida to hear what’s what.

This series will also now be featured in our monthly print issue of our Bungalower ‘zine.


Bungalower: Can you name a couple of wins your office is currently celebrating?

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges to our community like we’ve never seen before. Despite those challenges, a win is that as a City we didn’t let that derail us from the important work we do to serve our residents and businesses and to provide them with the core services and amenities they expect and need from their municipal government. We adapted, remained flexible, and continued our commitment to the excellent service that our community relies on. And it’s thanks to our dedicated employees who worked incredibly hard, day after day, during this crisis that we were able to maintain that standard of excellence.

Another great win is throughout this summer the City of Orlando helped ensure that students enrolled in city summer camps were prepared to return to the classroom in the fall following the COVID-19 pandemic impacts on last year’s school year. As part of this year’s summer camp programming, all city neighborhood centers had certified teachers on staff to provide academic programming to local youths in summer camps. More than 30 teachers kept students engaged and ready for this upcoming school year.”

Bungalower: COVID-19 aside, what are some points of concern you’re working on at the moment?

“Last year, through our budgeting process, we responded to the call to end systemic racism in our country and expanded our efforts to make Orlando a more equitable city for all. We made investments to strengthen our collective efforts to create a city where every resident is equally valued, is equally protected, and has equitable access to opportunities to help them thrive. This is an ongoing mission that cannot be accomplished in a single budget.

That’s why this year’s budget also ensures this remains a priority with continued funding to enhance police accountability and transparency, expand our youth programming and outreach, and further economic development initiatives to advance broad-based prosperity, job opportunities, and skills training.”


Bungalower: Can you name a couple of wins your office is currently celebrating?

We’re currently celebrating the highest and most diverse citizen participation rates in the history of our city through a series of newly-formed committees including a Police Advisory Committee, Budget, and Waste and Recycling.

We are expanding our parks and I’ve helped add two more parks under my tenure; Cross Lake and Wallace Field, the latter of which is a partnership with Cornerstone Charter Academy, and its the first of our parks to have public parking, restrooms, a water fountain, and an open area for fun outdoor activities.

We recently approved a $60,000 package for new AV equipment so we can provide higher quality recorded material and live remote broadcasts for increased participation with our residents and we’ve started some major infrastructure improvements including better drainage, improved roads and crosswalks, and other developments that were years behind on maintenance and we’ve almost caught up – all without increasing taxes.”

Bungalower: Can you name a couple of wins your office is currently celebrating?

We’re still working on improving the safety and water quality of our lakes, as well as working on issues like traffic, speeding, and motorcycle nuisances.

We’re expanding our police department, adding more parks and recreation programming, and trying to provide increased safety for our cyclists and pedestrians.

We’re also continuing to work on our partnerships with local intergovernmental authorities and carrying out some strategic annexation to promote our city as the best place to live in Central Florida.”


Bungalower: Can you name a couple of wins your office is currently celebrating?

“In my first 100 days of service as Mayor, we have made some significant accomplishments.

We restarted public events with the successful launch of the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival that was held online in March then in-person in May. Looking forward to more events in the fall and holiday season.

Our Fire-Rescue Department was recognized nationally for being one of only three agencies in the US to have received five consecutive international fire accreditations, be EMS accredited, and maintain an Insurance Services Office (ISO) Class 1 designation.

We approved the creation of a brand-new park in the heart of Orange Avenue, a future gathering place that will give our residents and their families, as well as our area businesses, a focal point to gather. We expect the new live oak grove will be established by the beginning of 2022.

We made our neighborhoods better, particularly in the Lake Killarney neighborhood by changing the traffic circulation and constructing a “parklet” that eliminates much of the cut-through traffic.

We managed your financial investment in your city prudently and efficiently. And we have coupled tax dollar investment with almost $13 million of federal American Recovery Plan Act funds to restore funds lost during the pandemic and to make long term investments that align with the values of Winter Park; a strong quality of life as well as support for the people that live and work in our community.”

Bungalower: COVID-19 aside, what are some points of concern you’re working on at the moment?

“We are constantly focused on keeping our small-town charm as the commission and staff evaluate redevelopment standards. The team is making sure that development standards are consistent with resident core values, which in 2016 were clearly stated as keeping our “Village Ambiance/Small Town Feel” and respecting our “History/Heritage”.

We are working hard to make our neighborhoods and our amazing park system even better. We already have the best police and fire response time in the region, and that will continue. We are also working on a robust investment plan to expand and improve our parks and to reduce the impact of traffic.

We spend a lot of our time on making sure our visitors have a great Park Avenue Experience. We expect to have a fantastic Holiday season of lights and events as we help our local businesses recover from 2020.

We are also staying competitive for great employees. We are constantly looking for first responders and for skilled tradesmen that want a great long-term career.”

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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