Corridor safety and blight is probably the issue I hear the most about as your county commissioner. Speeding and distracted drivers are generally the biggest cause of accidents. Cut through traffic through residential areas where folks want to be able to go for a walk or bike ride end up harmful due to excessive speeding. And the never-ending request to drivers to please stay off cell phones. Drivers in their twenties are the ones we try to reason with as they haven't lived long enough to be in an accident and understand the consequences. We want the younger drivers and everyone else safe. So, please drive slower and be alert.
Additionally, I started the Corridor of the Year Contest not only to develop a strong resident volunteer force but to address safety more comprehensively. Where we have cleaned up trash, painted walls, developed spirit committees, appointed a chief leader, and begun social events, improvements are many. Crime and accidents have been reduced with verifiable data available from the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Neighborhoods have formed volunteer associations where none previously existed. Front entranceways are also more aesthetically pleasing.
And, of course, Orange County Public Works, under my guidance and requests, has improved infrastructure. They have completed gaps in sidewalks, redone aprons, unplugged drains, made improvements to intersections, trimmed trees overhanging sidewalks and roadways, cleaned up ponds, and removed buildings that have been in violation of code enforcement for a decade or more. Additionally, the City of Apopka has trimmed trees hanging too low and removed dead ones in the right-of-way.
The winner of the Corridor of the Year Contest gets even more benefits. My office will expedite through Duke Energy a LED street lighting upgrade and either add park benches or branding pole banners. But, the biggest benefit is that the leaders of all the neighborhoods have begun to work together for the good of the entire area. And there will be a trophy and signage placed at the beginning of the corridor celebrating the victory.
Do you think this effort is as easy as going out for a few hours to pick up trash? It certainly isn't. Do you think it is simply calling 311?
So, how can you help? There are five groups going to be out this final weekend and the morning of the judging, Saturday, October 1st. The judges will be scoring on a matrix that gives points for the following: grass mowed, sidewalks pressure washed, landscape beds with nice plants and fresh mulch, absence of trash or snipe signs, and evidence of volunteers. The most pristine communities can only get a 5 out of 5 if they don't show evidence of volunteerism. So, please go out and join the volunteers from 8 AM until 11 AM.
Finally, individual properties are included in the judging as well. Road segments consisting of individual properties will be evaluated on the same criteria stated above. The two most important criteria are the sidewalks, weeds, and large oak trees being trimmed and mulched. Be careful not to place the mulch directly on a trunk, or the tree could potentially die.
Which streets are in the contest? For Wekiwa Springs, it is Thompson Road. I must say the trash and weeds are still a concern. I hope individual property owners get more engaged. For North Lester Road - it is their first year in the contest. I have yet to find all of the HOA board members. Please contact my office if you have not heard from me at 407.836.5850. Each corridor has two consecutive years to compete.
Sheeler Road in Southern Apopka has been largely working well together. I'm pleased with the comradery between Sheeler Oaks and Silver Oak. I will be with these volunteers Saturday morning installing mulch at Silver Oak. Two weekends ago, I helped clean up around Cleveland Street. Why don't you join me?
While Hiawassee and Magnolia Homes roads are not in the Apopka area, please remember I represent a much larger area as the county commissioner. Cheryl Soriano has been diligent in recruiting volunteers and working on the front in front of Caroline Estates. And what can I say about Magnolia Homes Road and the volunteers from the People of Lockhart? A group of about a dozen leaders from this civic group has motived a dozen other HOA leaders along the Magnolia Homes corridor with their presence each and every Saturday for the past two months. This road started in a very low place two years ago. Since that time, walls have been repaired and painted, community events have begun, and even a spirit group regularly displays holiday decorations at all front entranceways.
So, can Lockhart win this year with Magnolia Homes? I don't know, there are still a few neighborhoods in poor condition. And we won't know what the other roads will complete between now and October 1st. The winner will be announced on Thursday, October 13th, at Wekiva High School.
I hope you join in the fun of the 2022 Corridor of the Year Contest in District 2.