There simply is no substitute for attending a City Council meeting in person; the awkward pauses, the side-eyed glances amongst City staffers, and the soul-crushing monotony of democracy in action never quite translates via the City’s live stream.
However, by attending live, you do miss out on some seriously great content including this recurring segment called Trailing Thoughts, which channels the famous SNL sketch format, Deep Thoughts:
There was also this porn parody that promoted composting:
Apparently, someone at the City has the same fetish for organic waste as me.
Congressman Darren Soto
Following some basic housekeeping, Congressman Darren Soto was invited to the podium to provide updates on several recently approved Orlando funding projects, including:
- $200 million for the Orlando International Airport, which in terms of financial allocations, is “darn-near the most of any airport in the country,” according to Congressman Soto. It’s difficult for me to fact-check this as I think “darn-near” is more of a relative term. The funding will go towards the construction of 12 new gates in the recently completed Terminal C, as well as a new TRACON facility because the current building is “very antiquated.” I already have a fear of flying, so I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that last part.
- $16 million for Brightline and the ongoing Orlando to Tampa route project. Funding was awarded as part of a CRISI (Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements) grant.
- $12 million as part of a federal housing grant to help local residents who have lost their homes over the last year from “unprecedented rent hikes and flooding from hurricanes.”
- $6.7 million to help rehouse veterans throughout Orange, Osceola, and Seminole County.
- $3.4 billion for I-4 Beyond, specifically for South I-4 (Osceola Parkway to SR-27) with an additional billion dollars going towards improving Poinciana Parkway. “We’re seeing big money come to our region,” Congressman Soto tells the City Council, “while we’ve gotten the I-4 Ultimate project done, the Beyond I-4 project has just started to be funded.” No mention of other, totally real I-4 projects, including I-4 Resurrected and I-4 Revolutions.
Other notable updates provided by Congressman Soto include:
- $2.5 billion has been requested for flood control in the Semoran area.
- Congressman Soto and Orlando City Police Chief Eric D. Smith are pursuing a COPS grant (yes, that’s actually what it’s called) which will allow 11 officers to implement a new Central Tactical Unit, and seven officers to implement the new School Resource Officer Relief Unit.
Affordable Housing Funds
Mayor Dyer also added that Congressman Soto assisted in Orlando receiving $58 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding, with about $56 million going directly to local affordable housing projects. “I don’t think there’s too many communities in the country that allocated 95 or 96 percent of their funding in that fashion.” Dyer noted.
The finale of Soto’s address was the presentation of a comically oversized check for a million dollars which will fund an unaddressed project in District 1 (Lake Nona area).
Happy Birthday to Commissioner Patty Sheehan
Commissioner Ortiz lent his buttery smooth voice to a stirring rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Commissioner Sheehan. The council chamber’s sound system subsequently buckled under the enthusiasm.
Mayor’s Matching Grants
19 grants were awarded as part of the Mayor’s Matching Grant program to support local schools, neighborhood associations, and non-profits. Grant winners are announced twice a year. We told you about the first round of grantees, issued in January, HERE.
The following organizations and projects have been approved for funding:
|Alma Swim Foundation INC||Alma Swim Foundation||$5,000|
|ArtReach Orlando, Inc.||Artists in Wondercamp 2023||$5,000|
|BEL AIR ORLANDO NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, INC||Bel Air Wall Beautification Project Phase 2||$5,000|
|Central Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America||Scoutreach Metro Orlando||$6,000|
|DOWN SYNDROME FOUNDATION OF FLORIDA, INC.||Potential + Opportunity = Success in Orlando||$7,000|
|Elevation Scholars, Inc||Elevation Scholars||$3,500|
|First Tee – Central Florida||First Tee at Lake Lorna Doone Park||$6,500|
|Opera Orlando, Inc||Opera Orlando Youth Company||$5,000|
|Orange County Library System||Robot Rampage for Tweens and Teens/Sunshine State Series 2023-24||$6,000|
|Orange County School Readiness Coalition, Inc., DBA as Early Learning Coalition of Orange County||ELCOC Food Security Task Force Great Gardens Project||$6,500|
|Orlando (FL) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated||Full STEAM and Anti-Violence Ahead: Linkages of Leadership||$3,000|
|Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corporation||ONIC’s MMG Youth Care Project 2023||$6,500|
|Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra||Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Strings Summer Camp 2023||$5,000|
|Page 15, Inc.||Page 15 Literacy & Empowerment Programs||$7,000|
|So You Want Your Name In Lights Corporation||So You Want Your Name In Lights Youth Mentoring Program||$3,000|
|The 4R Foundation, Inc., DBA 4Roots||Packing District Afterschool Program Advancing Agricultural Education and a Healthy Lifestyle||$6,000|
|The Plug 4 Connection, Inc.||The Plug 4 Connection||$5,000|
|The Sanctuary Condominium Association||Sanctuary Electrical Repair||$5,000|
|WeFam United||WeFam United Youth Summer Program||$3,000|
A parking agreement has been reached between Timucua White House (Website) and the Wadeview Neighborhood Center.
Commissioner Sheehan shared the recent news that the 11th Circuit Court granted an injunction on the enforcement of the adult entertainment ordinance targeting drag performances. She also thanked the City of Orlando Police Department for releasing a statement saying they will not enforce the law.
“Drag is not a crime… we have Nazis protesting in front of gay establishments. This is un-American and we need to stand up for American values and work together.”Commissioner Patty Sheehan