"Are you gonna be honest with what we talkin' about here, and do the right thing?"
Monday, June 6, 2022
Dover Kohl's senior project director Jason King had begun the series of community meetings Thursday evening by telling East Winter Garden stakeholders — residents, business owners, church leaders, community advocates — that "the market wants to build" and that their community could support a variety of businesses from retail and restaurants to a small hotel. The plans for Center and Tenth Streets , where City Manager Jon Williams said the revitalization efforts would start, then spread out, would depend on what the community dictated.
As Williams told VoxPopuli, "We're looking for clear direction on what everyone would like to see as we kick off the revitalization efforts."
And so, after 11 maps were presented with ideas for affordable housing, senior housing, parks, restaurants, salon/barbers, mixed use space, among others, the urban planning team put together a "synthesized plan" that incorporated the key concepts and then translated that into a 3D video so that the community members could visualize what it might look like.
"Seeing is believing," said King.
Still, this is a community that has waited generations for change — for sidewalks to come, for swampy water to be drained, for streets to be lit.
"Are you gonna be honest with what we talkin' about here and do the right thing?" a masked woman asked, giving voice to that skepticism.
With a "Yes" answer came a quick tutorial about how Community Redevelopment Areas work, and that the city of Winter Garden had earmarked 75 percent of funds raised over the next 10 years for East Winter Garden — about $22 million.