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Apopka City Council Seat 4 Candidate Q&A – Week 9

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Questions & Answers with Candidates for Apopka City Council Seat 4 - Week 9

Each week we will be asking the candidates the questions YOU'RE asking.

Week 9 Seat 3 Candidates Seat 4 Candidates

This Week's Question: “Many Apopkans feel that downtown Apopka is unattractive and in need of a facelift. If the City Center project moves forward the need to improve the surrounding area will be even more critical. What can be done to address this issue with or without the City Center?”

Bill Arrowsmith

Kyle Becker

Young Kim

Bill Arrowsmith Kyle Becker Young Kim
The appearance of downtown Apopka has been a problem due to several factors with the most important being U.S. 441 running thru the center of it with 40,000 plus ca rs daily. In the past we have joined with local merchants to incentlvize them to beautify their storefronts with little success as many of the present buildings have absentee ownership and the landlords collect the same rent regardless of the condition of the property. We should continue to work with Orange County Code Enforcement as there are still properties in disrepair that are in fact in the County and not the City. Those owner operated properties in the City that do have to contend with the highway should set the example for others to follow in keeping their businesses inviting at all times.

There is also a responsibility of the City to manage the condition of its signage not only downtown but throughout Apopka. Signs are not at standard heights, leaning, on rusted poles etc. and should be addressed as our minor contribution towards this major issue.

I feel that we should work with our local merchants and suggest that they reinstitute a merchants association that could work hand in hand with the City in trying to work towards these beautification efforts.

I have brought up the subject before as to the condition of Central Ave. in the first block north of 441 as it is very heavily t raveled and in poor condition. This would be a great starting point towards our commitment to a face lift.

 

 

 

The success of our downtown commercial core is dependent on having an anchor development to draw residents and visitors alike. I support the idea of having the city center development as that anchor, but it goes beyond just the city center for a true downtown revitalization. We need to view it more as an Apopka downtown district, versus one development.

 

As we saw in the Visioning conceptual drawings, there are a number of ways we can address some of the appearance issues. I support “streetscaping” 6th St, connecting the Martin’s Pond area with Station St, thus having a more walkable element away from 441. I support the expansion and improvement of parking options near the same area. We need to revisit our code and ordinances to ensure the design standards we desire are firmly and consistently stated.

 

I also want to ensure our historic buildings are preserved and maintained to always show our rich history. Not many cities can see and feel the building from which their city was born, we can at The Lodge, as well as other historic buildings like the McBride House, Train Depot, and others.

 

Action is required now, not another 20 plus years of waiting.

 

 

 

 

Improving the blighted areas of downtown was an important platform issue before I began the race for Apopka Commissioner and continues to be one for me. My proposition is to create an art-community hub with cafes, galleries and possibly a local brewery in the blighted areas of downtown near city hall. In 1993 under a program called the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA), taxes were appropriated from persons who owned property within the blighted areas to reinvest those monies back into the same area. However, funds were reallocated to another part of the town to a entirely different project. It is my commitment to make sure that the city does not repeat the same mistakes that were made under the former administration and make sure that funds are properly allocated under the CRA. And most importantly, developing this area will not cost the Apopka taxpayer because private investors will buy up existing buildings and improve upon what is already there. A perfect example of this type of development is seen Melrose Place in California and Soho in New York City, where artisans take up blighted areas of a city, improve upon them and increase the property value of that area.

 

 

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