As important as the opening of Disney World. According to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, that’s how pivotal Creative Village will be to the future of Orlando.
Mayor Dyer held his annual State of Downtown address on Dec. 6 at the Amway Center. Mayor Dyer stressed the impact that the completion of Creative Village will have on the downtown community.
“Here in Orlando, the phrase, ‘This is as important as the opening of Walt Disney World’ — That gets thrown around a lot, right? And most of the time it’s an exaggeration,” Mayor Dyer said. “But in the case of Creative Village and everything that’s gonna come after it — it’s not. It’s that big of a deal.”
The University of Central Florida and Valencia College Creative Village campus is set to open in August of 2019. Mayor Dyer talked about the benefits Creative Village will have on the students and businesses, giving students internship opportunities close to their school.
Mayor Dyer didn’t just talk about the future of downtown, but also mentioned the progress that has been made in Orlando as well. The revitalization of the Parramore neighborhood has been a key goal in the mayor’s plans for downtown, and he highlighted the progress made in the underprivileged community.
“After 40 years without a public school in Parramore, we worked with Orange County Public Schools to bring a pre-K through eighth grade school back to the neighborhood,” Mayor Dyer said.
There have been many initiatives by the city to revitalize the Parramore neighborhood including the Parramore Kidz Zone (PKZ). Raysean Brown and Julian Harris grew up in Parramore and Pine Hills, respectively, and were introduced by the mayor as examples of the impact PKZ could have on the community.
“When PKZ came in, what’s happening is going to college, graduating high school — that’s the normal thing now,” Raysean Brown said in a video showed during the address. “Nobody’s bragging about graduating high school — that’s what you should do.”
Mayor Dyer also touted statistics to showcase the progress made in the community, citing a nearly 70 percent reduction in juvenile arrests in Parramore and a perfect high school graduation rate. Mayor Dyer added that every one of these high school graduates enrolled in college, trade school or joined the military.