One of Orlando’s oldest downtown neighborhoods, Parramore, has just been granted an official Main Street program of its own, but it’s not the first time they’ve had one.
Parramore was actually one of the first neighborhoods in Orlando to get a Main Street program back in 2008, but it was disbanded months later by City Hall which cited dubious reasons for the decision at the time. Read more about that interesting story HERE via an older post by former Orlando Weekly staffer, Jeffrey C. Billman.
At the time, the City of Orlando went on record with Orlando Weekly saying, “The city determined that until the revitalization efforts of Parramore, and the Amway Center, in particular, were further along, it was best to suspend the Parramore Main Street program.” Alluding to the idea that the district wasn’t ready for it, yet, at least until Amway had reinvigorated the district. Which we shared in an earlier story about the importance of Black-led cooperative economic initiatives in grassroots community revitalization strategies.
The City of Orlando approved a strategic expansion of the Church Street Main Street program in 2019 that created the new City District which included the Parramore neighborhood under its umbrella. They also received additional funding in order to hire an Associate Director, who would be in charge of overseeing all committees and activities related to Parramore, with the idea that it would eventually become autonomous once it was economically feasible to do so – something that no other district was forced to do.
You can read an excellent interview by Orlando Business Journal‘s Ryan Lynch with Parramore’s executive director, Natasha Gaye, who has served with the district since 2020 by clicking HERE.
The Parramore District is the oldest and largest Black residential neighborhood in the City of Orlando with ties back to the early 1900s when it was known as the Callahan, Lake Dot, and Holden neighborhoods. In the early 1920s, Parramore was ground zero for the top-down systemic segregation of Orlando’s Black residents when the City’s Zoning Commission designated separate areas where they could purchase homes and later relocated whole communities like Jonestown to the western side of downtown.
The City of Orlando is the largest landowner in the Parramore neighborhood.
The Parramore Main Street is hosting its first public event on Saturday, February 26 from noon-4 p.m. when it will be unveiling a new community mural, which you can read more about HERE.