Is it possible for a stadium redevelopment project to truly benefit the urban neighborhood in which it resides? This question is burning in the hearts and minds of residents who live near Orlando Florida’s Citrus Bowl.
In 2013, hundreds of them participated in a survey that assessed their interest in being a part of the next generation of the Bowl’s history. In short, they are very interested. The survey revealed eight key ideas for initiatives that residents believe will improve quality of life in the neighborhood. Nearly 200 residents are signed-up to be involved in specific initiatives and about 40 residents have emerged to help lead the way.
Steve Hogan, the CEO of Florida Citrus Sports (FCS), has expressed his commitment to work with the community. FCS is a non-profit that has been using the proceeds of its events to benefit children in the region for decades. Now, as the new stadium becomes a reality, they want to work with the neighborhood in which the stadium resides to focus this positive impact while still creating opportunities for children throughout the area.
Steve is part of a larger group of business leaders now known as LIFT Orlando who are making the same promise – to partner with residents to improve quality of life in the neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the stadium.
One of the last events held at the stadium before much of it was demolished was a Family Fun Day. Residents were invited out to be the first to see the results of the survey and to hear Steve Hogan’s pledge to meet the neighborhood half-way in order to make positive things happen. Children played and danced. Adults laughed and talked. Inspiring art work from the children depicting their hopes and dreams were on display for all to see. It truly was a celebration of what’s possible.
Now the work begins. Meetings have been taking place. Leaders are emerging. Ideas are taking shape. Here are the initiatives that are being discussed, some of which are underway.
- Youth Recreational Programming
- Neighborhood Advisory Board to Citrus Bowl
- Farmer’s Market
- Community Computer Center
- Walking Trail/Walking Clubs
- Housing Redevelopment
- Lake Lorna Doone Park Improvements
- West Downtown Business Association
If you are interested in more information or would like to be involved, please contact POLIS at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in reading the summary report distributed at the event, it is available here.
Phil Hissom is the Founder of the POLIS Insitute and the primary author of Dignity Serves. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Consider signing up for Dignity Serves, a six-lesson course that helps you rethink the way we serve others in our community. It teaches you to see problems differently and respond in a way that empowers those you serve rather than just meeting their immediate needs.