Each year, Mayor Dyer gives an address that rounds out past accomplishments and upcoming projects and challenges to take note of as we head into a new year. This year’s State of the City event took place on Wednesday, December 7 at the newly opened Luminary Green in Creative Village, and if you weren’t there, don’t worry, we have some of the nuggets from that speech below.
During his address, Mayor Dyer reaffirmed his commitment to the Downtown Action Plan, which he and his staff hope will help to grow the “downtown neighborhood,” pledging to take steps that will add up to “one big evolution of our downtown,” citing the transformation of Creative Village from surface parking and an old arena facility into a mixed-use neighborhood with high-wage job creators like EA Games.
As Mayor Dyer spoke about the future of downtown, he also made history on Wednesday, when he became the first mayor in the world to simulcast a mayoral address live in the Metaverse, declaring Orlando the “MetaCenter” of the Metaverse, parroting the declaration made by the Orlando Economic Partnership this past May, and you can watch the entire weird occurrence below. Helpful tip – skip to the 57:47 mark to see the mayor’s avatar do his thing, albeit with a full head of beautiful silver digital hair.
Other highlights included:
- Recognizing the need for more housing by listing upcoming developments like The Beacon, Society Orlando, Parramore Oaks, the Commons, and The Edge.
- A nod to Accelerate Orlando (Website), funded with $58 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, to help people experiencing homelessness with investments in the Christian Service Center, Salvation Army, Coalition for the Homeless, Pathlight Home, and the creation of more affordable housing units like the conversion of the Ambassador Hotel on Colonial Drive and the new Zebra Foundation home for LGBTQ+ youth.
- The mayor shared how the Downtown Action Plan will be the major piece to “one big evolution of downtown as its own urban neighborhood,” including turning some one-way thoroughfares into two-way streets, adding police officers downtown, upgrading the LYMMO circulator, transforming Lake Lucerne into a southern gateway, and bringing smaller-scale art and cultural amenities to downtown like the new projection park at Robinson and Orange.
- A new relationship between NASA and Parramore Kids Zone.
- A joke at Governor DeSantis’ expense and his notorious white boots.
- When he said people come to him all the time to say, “We love coming to Orlando for our permits rather than other places,” while talking about how great Orlando’s permitting department is.
Visit orlando.gov/stateofdowntown to view the full speech or to check out Mayor Dyer in the metaverse.