By County Commissioner Bryan Nelson
The Orange County Neighborhood Preservation and Revitalization Division (NPRD) empowers citizens to make their neighborhoods a better place. The information and resources they share bridge the gap between people who want to help, and people who have the organization to help. From identifying where improvement is needed most, to drawing up revitalization strategies and finding project resources, the NPRD is at residents’ disposal.
The First Step: Gathering Information
Improving neighborhood beautification, crime prevention, and emergency preparedness starts with you. So the NPRD ensures everything residents need to know about planning a neighborhood revitalization project is readily available. One way to learn about how to improve your neighborhood is by watching the NPRD sponsored series “Connecting Neighbors and Neighborhoods.” The half-hour program is both aired on Orange TV and archived on the NPRD website. Another way is to attend the free Community Connections workshops. There, you can network with the community, participate in hands-on learning, and receive valuable information to take back into their communities. Workshop topics range from Homeowners Association and Condo Board of Directors certification training, to how to save energy and money, and engage your community. They usually occur on the second Saturday of each month, and registration, as well as a full list of upcoming workshops, can be found by visiting this link or calling (407) 836-2934.
The Second Step: Getting Started
The next step is organizing a group and planning the project. Every year Orange County publishes a Neighborhood Resource Guide that outlines how to organize meetings, work with local governments, and take advantage of the county programs and services available to assist residents in improving their neighborhoods. NPRD also publishes an annual Neighborhood Organizations Directory. Since many neighborhoods face similar problems, the directory can be used as a tool to share insightful solutions with the extensive network of local community groups and associations.
Third Step: Getting the Job Done
Ensuring neighborhood revitalization projects have the resources and assistance to be seen through is critical. The NPRD provides funding when available, for neighborhood beautification and crime prevention or safety projects. Applications are accepted year round, and more information regarding grants can be found here.
As for assistance, NPRD offers a mentorship program where community members can get advice from Orange County experts. To learn more about the program give NPRD a call at 407-836-2934.
Right now there are two communities clean ups planned in the District 2 community! The first is Trojan Service Day which will be hosted by Evans High School on Saturday, April 01, 2017 at Evans High School. During Trojan Service Day Evan’s students will be working alongside various organizations to pick up trash, paint buildings, and garden around Meadowbrook Middle School, Westwood Heights, Forest Park, Experience Christian Center and of course the Evans High School campus. Over 400 students will attend this cleanup and volunteer their time in the local Pine Hills community.
The second community clean-up being organized by District 2 will be for the Plymouth and Zellwood communities on April 29th from 8am to 12pm at the Willow Street Community Center on 6565 Willow St, Zellwood, FL 32798 and Roosevelt Nichols Park on 1601 Hermit Smith RD Apopka, FL 32712. We will have local Apopka High School students, community organizations, parents, and residents volunteering on that day.
To stay connected with your community you can subscribe to NPRD’s Neighborhood Update E-Newsletter and the biannual Neighbor to Neighbor magazine. Further, you can attend the annual Community Conference, and register your neighborhood or organization to be listed in the Orange County Neighbors Organizations directory.
Every year inspiring community members are recognized with Community Organization Awards, and featured in the Neighbor to Neighbor magazine. Promoting and partaking in neighborhood preservations and revitalization projects not only improves your quality of living but your neighbors. It is the Orange County Neighborhood Preservation and Revitalization Division’s mission to “…empower citizens and businesses by engaging them in a method to identify neighborhood needs and issues so that resources can be accessed to help revitalize, strengthen, and preserve the physical, social, and economic value of Orange County neighborhoods.” Thanks to this agency and all the community leaders who organize neighborhood projects Orange County continuously improves.
For further details on getting involved please contact the following:
Orange County Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization Division
Phone: (407) 836-5606
Bryan Nelson serves as the County Commissioner for Orange County District 2 which includes Apopka, Ocoee, Eatonville, and Northwest Orange County.