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How Shall We Grow? Anniversary Celebration

Region Celebrates Progress In Implementing the Central Florida Regional Growth Vision

Orlando, FL - Almost 300 government, business and civic leaders of the Central Florida region gathered this morning at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport to celebrate the progress that the region has made in advancing the themes or 4Cs of the Regional Growth Vision that Central Floridians created two years ago: Conservation, Countryside, Centers and Corridors.

This vision is the result of a historic community conversation that took place for over 18 months with 20,000 residents and 600 community leaders and elected officials in the seven counties Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Polk and Volusia, to find out what they wanted to see in their community’s future when the projected population growth reaches 7 million residents by the year 2050.

Between 2006 and 2007, Central Floridians said that what mattered most to them revolved around conserving green space; taking care of our agricultural countryside; developing vibrant, economically thriving centers and connecting those population centers with effective corridors of transportation.

At the event, nearly 50 cities, counties, regional organizations and businesses showcased the accomplishments that have been made in implementing the 4Cs during a "Regional Trade Show." Participants were able to see first-hand how cities, counties, organizations, developers, environmentalists, private companies and planners have been working across jurisdictional boundaries in all kinds of projects - big and small - to make the future the residents want a reality and provide their thoughts and comments through Twitter, which were later presented during the program for reactions and suggestions.

Click here to view more photos from this event.

"What you are seeing here today is the result of consensus among elected officials, business and community leaders in support of the vision and its implementation. In fact, more than 60% of the 93 municipalities in the region as well as dozens of regional and state organizations and private businesses are addressing issues related to the 4Cs and adapting their short and long-term strategies, programs and processes," said Shelley Lauten, President of myregion.org.

The Congress of Regional Leaders, comprised of elected officials representing each county, including mayors, commissioners and school board officials, serves a the regional organization dedicated to advancing the implementation of the Regional Growth Vision, demonstrating that growth-related changes can be implemented without government regulations or mandates, but instead through regional cooperation and collaboration.

"Many said that changing how leaders made decisions related to growth could be done only through regulations and government mandates," said Ed Timberlake, Chairman of myregion.org. "However, armed with only with the ‘power of good ideas’, in just two years elected officials and municipal staffs have taken the lead in moving forward growth practices that are advancing a shared vision for the future. Cities, counties and organizations have undertaken initiatives, both large and small, designed to positively impact how that community is growing while also enhancing the quality of life of its residents, which is an incredible accomplishment for the region and for Florida."

Those attending the event received a document containing a detailed compilation of the responses received from cities, counties, organizations and private businesses across Central Florida about their efforts in each of the four regional themes, as well as a brief synopsis of the challenges, barriers and opportunities for regional collaboration impacting each group.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Among the first locals to embrace the regional vision was the City of Tavares, in Lake County. Under the guidance of Mayor Nancy Clutts and their city council, Tavares formulated a city vision and have been aggressively working to ensure its fulfillment. In October 2008 the city council approved a new Downtown Redevelopment Master Plan. The plan provides strategies, with a clear implementation timetable, that addresses land uses, design, circulation and connectivity, public facilities, the environment and economic development. It promotes mixed-use development, envisioning an urban core where people can live, work, shop and be entertained all within a short walking distance.
  • Other cities across the region, including Lakeland, Orlando, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Deltona, DeLand, Cape Canaveral, Kissimmee and St. Cloud are also placing an emphasis on making their downtown and population centers attractive places where people will be able to live, conduct business and enjoy leisure activities all within close proximity.
  • In December 2008, Seminole County adopted a new Comprehensive Plan based on the County’s current Evaluation and Appraisal Report. This updated plan incorporates numerous plan policies that are consistent with and further the 4Cs of the Central Florida Regional Growth Vision.
  • In addition, the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council is working with the cities in Seminole County on identifying opportunities and developing policies that would allow the cities to implement elements of the regional vision.
  • Many regional organizations and private companies have also developed short and long-term strategies, programs and processes designed to enhance the 4Cs.
  • The Central Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Alliance and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) are using the vision as a guide as they adopt their 2030 Long Range Transportation Plans. The five MPOs in the Alliance (along with FDOT) are developing an integrated strategy that looks at future transportation needs and plans across the entire seven county region.
  • Several private planning, engineering and development companies are also using the regional vision to help shape how they look at building and developing properties. Companies that are using the themes of conservation, countryside, centers and corridors include MSCW, Canin & Associates, Lake Nona Properties, Castle & Cook Florida and the Miami Corporation Farmton Property.

The development of the Regional Growth Vision was a partnership between myregion.org and the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Florida Department of Community Affairs, Florida Department of Transportation, Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization, METROPLAN ORLANDO, Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, Polk County Transportation Planning Organization, Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization and Volusia County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

In a joint letter to myregion.org, Thomas Pelham, Secretary, Florida Department of Community Affairs and Stephanie Kopelousus, Secretary, Florida Department of Transportation, stated, "The unveiling of the Regional Growth Vision in 2007 was a milestone event, but what is even more impressive is that leaders across the region have taken the next step and begun changing local policies to ensure that the Vision becomes a reality. We congratulate you, the leaders and residents of Central Florida, for your commitment to making your region a place where future generations will benefit from your shared vision and collective actions."

Mick Fleming, President of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives and Managing Director of the Alliance for Regional Stewardship, was the keynote speaker during the program. He provided a national perspective on the importance of regional cooperation and collaboration and pointed out the attributes that make regions competitive in the global marketplace.

Click here to see what cities, counties, organizations and private businesses across Central Florida are doing to advance the Regional Growth Vision.