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Orange County

We can only build better together: Demings delivers 2024 State of the County Address


Residents and community leaders gathered at the Linda Chapin Theatre inside the Orange County Convention Center last Friday to hear Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings’ 2024 State of the County address. In his speech, Demings focused on Orange County’s accomplishments and challenges this past year and emphasized its strategic public, private, and philanthropic partnerships that have fostered a community culture of building better together.

“We’ve had a year of remarkable achievements and continued strong economic growth,” he said. “It’s also been a year filled with opportunities, challenges, and significant milestones that have helped shape our community.”

Apopka City Administrator Jacob Smith and Mayor Bryan Nelson.
Apopka City Administrator Jacob Smith and Mayor Bryan Nelson.

Demings reminded everyone that to build better, the County must remain financially strong, and Orange County Government once again received Fitch’s highest triple-A rating across the board. Building on a strong economy, the County continued to see growth in commercial and residential activity, issuing more than 80,000 permits with a development value of $2.2 billion.

The address also highlighted how the county aggressively addresses the affordable housing crisis, growth-related transportation, and environmental challenges. It also mentioned four industries integral to our thriving economy: tourism and hospitality, agriculture, simulation and technology, and life sciences and medical technologies.

Former Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce President Robert Agrusa and Apopka Commissioner Alexander Smith at the Sate of the County Address.
Former Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce President Robert Agrusa and Apopka Commissioner Alexander Smith at the Sate of the County Address.

As part of his address, Demings outlined initiatives and accomplishments in other high-priority areas such as health services and public safety, mental and behavioral health, sustainability and the environment, sense of community and community engagement, and sports, arts, and culture. Some additional highlights include:

  • Orlo Vista Flood Mitigation Project removed 23,000 dump trucks of dirt
  • 2,300 affordable housing units built or under development
  • $100M for accelerated transportation projects
  • 74M visitors generated $87.6B in economic impact
  • 91,000 patients served at Orange County’s Primary Access Network
  • 24,000 acres of land protected for conservation

“We’re building better together through partnerships in affordable housing, public safety, and transportation,” concluded Demings. “We’re building better together by supporting our businesses, innovation, and entrepreneurs. We’re building better together by increasing access to behavioral health services. We’re building better together by preserving and sustaining our environment, and we’re building better together by embracing diversity and promoting arts and culture that uplift our community. If you want to live in a better community, we can only build better together.”

Demings referenced two affordable housing projects in Apopka during his address:

"Today, more than 2,300 affordable housing units have been built or are under development," he said. Here are some of the projects Orange County invested: In Apopka, The Mira, and Southwick Commons. In addition, through our partnership with the Hannibal Square Community  Land Trust, we have invested in Cornerstone at Sixth, a 24-unit affordable townhome community in Apopka." 

Demings also referenced South Apopka in the address:

"Regarding broadband, we used ARPA funding to target unserved areas in  Bithlo, Christmas, and South Apopka to ensure residents have access to internet services. That project will be completed this Summer," he said.

This year marks Demings' 43rd year of public service and sixth year as Orange County Mayor.

Rewatch the 2024 State of the County on OrangeTV’s Vimeo

Orange County, State of the County Address, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, What is the state of Orange County?


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