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Officials map priorities

Kristy Vickery

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The Observer sat down with city and chamber of commerce leaders to find out what their priorities are for 2011. Here’s what they had to say:

City of Winter Park City

Manager Randy Knight:

  1. Getting a resolution to the police/fireman pension. “We are currently working with a consulate and state legislatures who are looking at some type of pension reform. Phase I, which will be some smoothing of the liability, will be complete towards the end of this month or beginning of next. The legislative piece will be complete some time during this legislative session, which takes place during the May-June time frame.”

  2. Starting Fairbanks Avenue (between 17-92 and I-4) project. “We are in final approval with the Department of Transportation now, so once we get that final approval we have to bid out the various aspects of the job and get it moving. We are looking to get the project started by the middle of the summer, and overall it will probably take over a year.”

  3. Balancing budget. “We will continue to try to come in with a balanced budget during these difficult economic times, by monitoring sales taxes, gas tax, property values etc… and looking for more efficient ways of doing things.”

  4. Completion of the community center construction. “We are looking forward to opening that brand new facility this year, which will be completed in June.”


City of Maitland City

Manager Jim Williams:

  1. To complete construction of the City of Maitland fire station, and start construction of City Hall. “We should be complete with construction of the fire station by the end of the year, and start construction of City Hall by the middle of the year. We’re currently working to get the design within the budget.”

  2. Revise the city’s land development regulations. “We are currently getting a consulate on board now to revise these plans and are in the process of negotiating with the top rank firm that we’ve suggested.”

  3. Review the city’s charter, to see if there are possible changes that need to be made. “The council’s discussing the possibility of putting together a committee of citizens to review the charter and recommend changes or adjustments, if any, that need to be made, which will be discussed over the next few months.”


Winter Park Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Chapin:

  1. Advocacy. “We want to continue in 2011 to be the voice of business and small businesses in Winter Park. We’ve got some great initiatives that we’re working on with the city in terms of rebranding Winter Park central business district (Park Avenue and Hannibal Square) and getting some marketing out to let people know it’s a destination.”

  2. Remaining all inclusive. “We’ve been successful in this, and we want to continue to be an organization that welcomes and partners with lots of different entities and organizations within the community. We’ve been an institution now for over 100 years and we went to make sure we keep that since of community; it’s really important to the chamber to remain a chamber of community while driving those big economic engines. We’re as much a chamber of community, as we are a chamber of commerce. We want to be the place that brings people together to discuss ideas, to network and share a sense of community.”

  3. Create new programs. “We’re working on new programs like Winter Park Traditions, where new employees working for the city can come to an hour-long training session to learn the history and opportunities of Winter Park. We’re also focusing on a wellness program, partnering with YMCA, Winter Park Memorial Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation to create a program to give business owners in Winter Park an opportunity to improve the quality of work in the workplace. We’re really trying to put an index of resources together. We will have a program called Leadership Legends that will involve our seniors population into the behind the scenes in Winter Park community.”


Maitland Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Hodge:

  1. Meet the needs of members and enlist them in new or current programs. “Enlisting the members in the programs that we currently have established to build relationships, like our three, very active, Leads Groups; our Women’s Lunch and Learn Group, and our monthly Business After Hours. We want to bring visibility to their businesses through these programs.”

  2. Helping struggling businesses remain open. “We will host events each year which offer our members and the community an opportunity for visibility through sponsorships to these events. These events not only bring opportunities to our members but also bring people to the city of Maitland who purchase from our local businesses making it a win-win situation.”

  3. Create a new downtown with a new developer. “We support our city in any capacity to bring the Town Center project to fruition.”


Goldenrod Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darlene Dangel:

  1. Increasing membership. “We plan on increasing membership by asking current members to invite fellow businesses to attend luncheons and events the chamber hosts, which is a great way to meet the local business owners in our community and promote principals of the chamber. We would also like to implement a membership drive with the help of the Board of Directors in the chamber.”

  2. Increase benefits to members. “We would like to increase benefits by providing more quality speakers for the monthly luncheons. The luncheons provide a way for business leaders to network with other business leaders, and listen to informational speakers and local government officials in Orange and Seminole Counties. We would also like to increase the business-to-business interaction at these events. We would like to have more participation by the members of the chamber, which is key to the members to get the most they can out of the chamber.”

  3. New events. “We want to work to keep events the chamber hosts fresh and exciting for members. We plan on encouraging family participation in the Goldenrod Parade and Festival every year, which is a great time for the community to get involved with the chamber and businesses that support us.”


Baldwin Park’s owner of BullFish and The Doggie Door and board member of Bright Side Events, Brian Wettstein:

  1. Moving new businesses into Baldwin Park. “We’re getting stronger businesses that are moving into the downtown, so it’s a really good thing to fill up those vacant spots, and we want to continue on the path that we’re on.”

  2. More events. “We want to find ways to have some kind of signature event on a monthly basis in Baldwin Park to draw more of a regional crowd, in addition to the local crowd that we have that support the downtown.”