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The building blocks of a successful community


As many readers know, I’m supremely interested in improving towns, cities, corridors, and neighborhoods. I have reported regularly in columns and on social media about sources that present best practices for growth and improvement. Most recently, I have been reading a citywide master plan written by GAI and Associates.  This Envision Ct. Cloud Master Plan is chock full of great ideas and principles to follow.

The author lists the basic building blocks of any successful community as residential, industrial, retail, downtown, health care (environment), and public realm. I will define these terms in subsequent paragraphs.

The author states the desire to attract more high-paying jobs, elevate and expand the tax base, provide additional services, and improve the overall quality of life are foundational aims of local government. He believes just focusing just on one of these six building blocks will not bring success. While implementation should place more effort into the areas with the greatest deficiencies, it cannot focus on only one or two at the expense of the others. A strong town model means a brighter future for any town or city means all areas are critical. I also believe each area in a city or community requires a champion due to the time and energy needed to succeed.

Residential: The basic element of a town is vibrant, healthy, and safe neighborhoods. Thriving mandatory and voluntary HOAs are key. Every neighborhood needs a champion who collaborates with other leaders. They must be knowledgeable in order to keep the neighborhood safe, prosperous, sustainable, and social and enjoy high-quality infrastructure. I have a Neighborhood Leaders Program, which meets quarterly.  I also offer monthly clean-ups and a Corridor of the Year Contest. Please call my office if you wish to join me.

Industrial: If a community does not have opportunities for employment, this will be a key deficiency to remedy. It is vital folks have opportunities for meaningful jobs and employment. I believe a survey of available employment should be undertaken to ensure opportunities are varied and diverse. Our local chambers of commerce and economic development directors can certainly champion these tasks. A strong job market is key to any successful town or city.

Retail Services: Strong Neighborhoods and thriving job markets drive the need for retail uses and will improve the quality of retail offerings in the community. I watched the success of the Wekiwa Riverwalk, adding Aldi’s and Sprouts. The restaurants are prospering, as are all the other offerings. My granddaughters needed to purchase gifts for their mother, and I was able to drive less than 2 miles and find suitable retail for this purpose. It pains me for my folks in Pine Hills and Lockhart to have to drive to Altamonte Springs, Ocoee, or Winter Park to shop. If I was mayor for a day, I would task the economic development team to focus on these retail needs in addition to their standard fare of attracting multi-national companies to the region.

Downtown: The GAI report believes that historic downtowns are important physical and psychological anchors for a town. They must be nurtured. Think about an anchor. If the anchor does not hold, the town is tossed about everywhere. I have spent the better part of three years trying to create downtown Lockhart. I am waiting for news from our application for a federal Reach Grant to rebuild the infrastructure. Proper infrastructure must come first.  I’m also speaking to the Apopka City Council about strengthening their Community Redevelopment Area. I regularly attend workshops and events celebrating the progress of downtown Ocoee. Without a viable and vibrant downtown, a city will not prosper to its fullest potential.

Healthcare: Access to quality health care and a healthy environment is certainly a must. Recently, I advocated with Advent Health for a health hub in the Lockhart/Rosemont area of the district. And never forget to mention the time invested in septic-to-sewer conversions to protect our water quality and spring. An Advent Health Hospital was recently located in the district near Binion and Ocoee-Apopka roads. We can all think of the benefits such as quicker emergency care, availability of local surgery options, jobs, impact on development, etc. Healthy communities are pivotal to the success of towns and cities.

Finally, Public Realm:  A strong town is connected by high-quality streets, parks, lakes, and green spaces. It has been an enjoyable part of my work to beautify corridors and neighborhood entranceways. While grueling and exhausting volunteering every Saturday and sometimes Sunday mornings, the people we engage are the best citizens around.

Adding amenities to parks such as Magnolia, Riverside Acres, Roosevelt Nichols, and others is important work. The social aspects of a community, getting rest and relaxation, along with celebrating special events, is critical to the success of a town or city.

Quality streets and street lighting are important. I spend an enormous amount of time training residents to utilize the 311 app to report deficiencies such as broken sidewalks, burnt-out lights, faded signage, large item of garbage needing pick-up, etc. And let’s not forget my Corridor Chief Program, which enlists volunteers to pick up trash in the rights-of-ways. The public realm subject areas are also vital to the success of any town or city.

I hope you found this article informative. I would suggest you consider becoming a champion in one or more of these six areas. There is so much work to be done and hundreds more champions are needed. It truly takes a village to bring success.

Orange County, Christine Moore, Orange County Commission District 2, Communities, Building Blocks


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

  • MamaMia

    Well, if you had seen the snake that I saw, that the neighborhood boys managed to catch, and brought back to our street to show to everyone, before it got loose, then they finally caught it again, put it in the truck and drove away, to release it back in the woods along the trail, dog park, and nursing home, where they found it.... If you had of seen that huge lunging snake trying to bite them, I don't think you, or the volunteers, would be so gung ho on clearing the brush, and picking up trash, along the roadways, woods, trails, and subdivision entrances. Just saying.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    Do tell Christine exactly what you are posting here about strengthening the COA's CRA? From what I have read on AC's website your idea of "strengthening" our Apopka CRA, is to get rid of Jim Hitt, as you posted he couldn't handle the job on the CRA. Are you coming to the city council to get with your cronies, to try to get Hitt out, or to try to get some of your anti- Nelson cronies in, under the disguise as neighborhood champions? Everything you do Christine is politically motivated, and self serving to expand your base, to keep yourself in power, even these neighborhood volunteer cleanups, just like your art and jazz fests. DeSantis needs to ban the books you are reading, because apparently the things you quote, are brainwashing you. Yes, ban the books DeSantis, we can't allow people to be brainwashed, like Christine. Christine, don't you worry, Apopka, is not going to be tossed around without an anchor. It was here long before you, and will be here long after you.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2023 Report this

  • Jackdo

    I appreciate what Christine Moore has done for her County district. I personally enjoy seeing the accomplishments she has made the county and the City of Apopka. It's easy to bash her when they're sitting at home doing nothing to improve your community. We all hide behind our names.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2023 Report this

  • MamaMia

    Reply to Jackdo:. I not sitting at home FYI. Who are you, posting under an assumed name. I told people who I am. Christine does take care of Apopka, right near her neighborhood! Why doesn't she do more to help South Apopka residents? Yes, why doesn't she? This article where she speaks about how she is pained about her Pine Hills folks have drive to Altamonte, Ocoee, and Winter Park to shop... That is BS, Pine Hills has all kinds of shopping places, way more than Ocoee. I think you are Apopka Critic, AKA Jack D..Martin...am I right?

    Tuesday, May 16, 2023 Report this