The City of Orlando is looking to the community for ideas on what exactly it should be doing with all of that prime land under the newly-raised Interstate 4 overpasses.
The land under the interstate had long been used as surface parking for shoppers and diners headed to Church Street and downtown businesses before being closed in 2015 to allow for I-4 Ultimate construction. Because of the construction, a total of 900 spaces were taken away.
The City of Orlando then tabled an idea during its Project DTO revisioning campaign that would transform the lots into a more permeable membrane to more formally connect the disparate neighborhoods of the Central Business District with Parramore, creating a new 9.75-acre urban park with free-flowing gathering spaces, play areas, and vendor opportunities.
Those plans shifted last year when officials decided to add back at least 500 of those original 900 parking spaces to help struggling businesses in the downtown core, more specifically, those on Church Street. At that time, Martin Hudson, an Urban Project Manager for the City of Orlando, told Bungalower that the rest of the property would still be used for some sort of public activations and park space around the perimeter of the lots.
Hudson, who is also working on finishing up Luminary Green‘s construction in Creative Village, shared that he and his team will be testing a variety of tech tools in that park like projections and innovative lighting solutions, that will also be applied to the Under-i project when completed.
“We’re applying a lot of the lessons we’re learning in Creative Village to this park – it’ll be like Luminary Green on steroids. There are about 100 columns under the interstate that we are planning to project onto in the Under-i, as well as the entire roof/base of the interstate itself. We can create waterfalls, starlit skies, you name it, to make it a really special space that will entice people to want to visit downtown. Actually there are 101 columns but people keep making dalmation jokes.”– MARTIN HUDSON
Hudson also shared that the park will feature a transit hub on Central Avenue for the nearby LYNX station as well as drop-off spaces for rideshare companies. Those parking lots can also be closed for special event programming too, so it will operate more as a flex space than a permanent pig pen for cars.
Despite Hudson’s clear vision for the space, The City of Orlando has just issued a community survey asking residents for their feedback on the Under-i project. The survey takes roughly five minutes to complete and asks you to grade the importance of things like bike paths, public art, parking, and landscaping. Click HERE to participate.
To help you in your survey-taking, we’ve also plopped some fun ideas for the space at the bottom of this post for your scrolling pleasure. We did another fun roundup HERE with videos from around the world of comparable projects that you may find inspiring too.
ALL IMAGES SOURCED VIA PINTEREST