In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: We Built This City.
What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?
I have lived in the Orlando area most of my life. This is the hub of international tourism which hosts both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Since it never snows here, it is an ideal place for northerners to come and vacation with us during the winter. Outside of Walt Disney and Internal Drive, we have an amazing downtown business district. Over the past few years, downtown has turned into a place for innovation in the tech sector.
This is what I love now about this city more than anything else is that we are embracing tech. The Exchange building which remained empty for years is now home to Canvs cowork space and the Iron Yard. It is exciting that we have routine Orlando Tech and WordPress meetups downtown, they provide more than enough network opportunities. There has never been a better time to get involved and empowered by the local tech community.
Personally, what I like least is that we are becoming a sports town. In 1989, the Orlando Arena opened it’s doors to host Orlando Magic basketball games. The city closed it down in 2010 to make way for a new stadium closer to the interstate. It is amazing to me that such an impressive structure had such a short lifespan that I witnessed from birth to death myself. We now have our own soccer team which has taken the city by storm. While I do not mind going to a game or two every few years, I’m concerned there is just too much emphasis put on these activities.
The City also spent 230 million dollars of federal tax dollars to install a train using an existing line we call the “Sunrail”. This train system which spans about 30 miles through downtown Orlando was expected to have a ridership of 4300 commuters a day. The Sunrail only gets used by an average of 3800 folks a day that has been aided by running for longer hours. The city is seeking another 126 million dollars in federal funding to expand the line to 61 miles total.
I am thankful that I do not live on the other side of town where the train runs. It has caused traffic disruptions and an increase in accidents with automobiles.
If I was mayor, I would stop throwing good money after bad on the train system. I would spend more efforts in thrusting Orlando as leader in the tech community. One of the advancements that the community is working with is government open data. They are asking our city to make public data more assessable so developers can take that data to make more useful apps for their citizens. The city government is a bit hesitant on the request and would rather gauge just how determined the developer community is. All in due time I imagine as other cities throughout the world lead the way to show us how it is done.