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Commissioner Moore's Sheeler Avenue cleanup unearths three homeless camps

Calls on RaceTrac to improve its landscaping and mowing


I experienced some extraordinary moments at the clean-up this past weekend with The People of Southern Apopka along Sheeler Avenue near US 441. I want to share my experience and a few tips with you.

Orange County Commissioner District 2 Christine Moore
Orange County Commissioner District 2 Christine Moore

First, even after driving by dozens of times, we noticed the landscapers at the Race Trac were not taking care of their landscape beds or mowing rights-of-way. We were horrified by dead plants, overgrown trees hitting cars, weeds in beds, and an unmaintained pond. The company’s landscaper appeared, and we questioned them about the poor job they were doing. Come to find out, the company told the landscaper to mow every other week and only mow grass. They weren’t being paid to maintain what was once lovely landscaping. If you can help me complain to corporate Race Trac that our community deserves better, I would appreciate it.

Secondly, we went across the street to trim trees. Once we began, we exposed three homeless camps. Good grief. When you don’t trim up your large trees, when weeds get over 18 inches, and hedges over three feet – this is what you get. We must be our brothers’ keepers. Let’s be considerate of what our lack of maintenance does to our neighbors. A nice elderly man lives next door to these camps for whom I’m concerned. We are contacting the owner to post No Trespassing signs and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to remove any more squatters.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we must continue to work on building a homeless shelter so there are better options for the unsheltered.

I must share the long list of accomplishments done with my partners - the Orange County Public Works Department, Apopka Professional Firefighters, and The People of Southern Apopka Community Association along Sheeler Avenue and Road.

Recent Sheeler Avenue Accomplishments:

3 branding banners erected.

Sidewalks repaired. 

Trash picked up.

Sidewalk gap completed in the county section.

Trees trimmed up in the right-of-way.

Hedges trimmed down in the right-of-way.

Three homeless camps moved.

Complaints sent to RaceTrac corporate for poor maintenance of their property.

Requested improved intersection at Apopka Blvd./Sheeler.

Requested state & county improve the intersection at US 441 ($500,000 price tag)

As I wrote to homeowners, the next step to take if we want to be successful requires their participation. I follow law enforcement guidelines known as CPTED. They are best practices to keep people safe in their homes. Number one is picking up trash. Criminals are attracted to areas where it looks like people don’t care or are unengaged. The second is trimming large tree limbs up and hedges down. Third, law enforcement recommends adding lighting to your home and property. Small solar lighting is relatively inexpensive and readily available.

I will reprint this list of ideas that work in any community. I joke that too many folks hide behind weeds. There is some truth to this, however. Using a weed whacker to keep grasses down under 12 inches throughout the entire property, including the fence line, is vital.

Here is my list of recommendations one more time.

Things to Do to Avoid Crime & Homeless Activity:

Lower all hedges to under 3 feet.

Hire a tree company to raise large tree canopies over 10 ft.

Reduce the amount of tall weeds on the property.

Trim vegetation over fence lines so the fence can clearly be seen.

Use a weed killer to keep grasses down on fence lines.

Place “No trespassing signs on the property”.

I hope you implement these recommendations and join me in making all of District 2 safe and prosperous.

Orange County, Sheeler Avenue, US-441, RaceTrac, Orange County Commissioner Christine Moore, How can I get involved in a District 2 cleanup?


3 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Wildemort

    It's very encouraging to see this clean up effort and I appreciate that you're in favor of building a shelter for homeless people. Can you please tell me if there are any plans to improve the area behind the Wawa at 449 West Maine Street (specifically the intersection of Old Dixie Hwy and N Maine Ave)?

    Tuesday, June 4 Report this

  • jeffrow63

    "We must be our brothers’ keepers." - Since our homeless brothers were thrown out, I assume we helped them find a better place to live?

    Tuesday, June 4 Report this

  • Nodcenter

    Hey Christine, how about you start getting on the county maintenance crews to mow and trim along the county roads throughout Apopka. They are dangerous, and unsightly. It's a lot easier to encourage others when you lead by example.

    Wednesday, June 5 Report this