DDB/CRA Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget

Last updated on October 08, 2020

The Downtown Development Board/Community Redevelopment Agency (DDB/CRA) Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget began October 1, 2020. During the budget process, staff took into consideration ongoing and new initiatives that further the DTOutlook – the vision plan for downtown Orlando. 

A few highlights from the Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget include: 

Enhancing Green Space

Since it’s renovation over 30 years ago, Lake Eola Park has become a destination for residents and visitors alike. It is home to countless events each, an award-winning farmer’s market, and has been a key component of the resurgence of downtown Orlando into the vibrant city center that it is today. Today, Lake Eola Park is showing wear from the millions of annual visitors that have frequented the park. 

 As a result, the city has determined that it is time to re-envision the park in anticipation of the next 50 years. To address this, work has commenced on a master plan that will not only determine the physical changes needed but will help to guide the park’s place in the context of the larger downtown, city, and region.

 In addition to re-envisioning the park, Orlando Land Trust has committed to preserve, protect and expand Lake Eola Park. The mission of the Orlando Land Trust is to protect and improve green space for a healthier Orlando. To realize this goal, the Trust is collaborating with The Trust for Public Land to acquire the Murrell property on the southwest corner of Lake Eola Park and convert it into public green space. 

 Additionally, the city is looking to create a park on the corner of Orange Ave. and Robison St. Sitting on 0.28 acres at the intersection of Orange Ave. and Robinson St., the future Orange Robinson Park will contain amenities that include a two-story container structure with café, art gallery, stage, and seating. In addition, A/V equipment will be located throughout the park’s footprint; there will be space for two food trucks (semi-permanent and revolving); hammock rentals; green space for scheduled activities; and a downtown gateway feature. 

 In Creative Village, the 2.3-acre, $5.3 million Creative Village Park will provide opportunities for students, residents, and visitors to gather, play, and enjoy the outdoors. The park will include a level open space area for events or unorganized recreation, landscaped areas shaded with canopy trees, various types of seating, functional and decorative lighting, and hardscaped areas for performance, and/or future art installations. The park will also include a large artistic circular trellis that will serve as the aesthetic cornerstone of the park and provide additional shaded area for park patrons. Construction on the park is expected to begin this fall and be completed in October 2021.

Increased Décor for Holidays

This year, downtown Orlando will see a new Christmas tree at Lake Eola Park. This tree will use RGB technology that will provide a superior light show.

In addition, the technology utilized with this tree will allow for synchronization with the fountain. Additionally, there will be more décor and lighting around Lake Eola Park for the 2020 holiday season including a Santa Claus mid-size décor piece and elf décor pieces. 

Enhanced Lighting and Streetscape Improvements

With new concrete block pavers installed - coupled with sidewalk and landscaping work - we will improve stormwater management, pedestrians, and streetscape. This will enhance and beautify the downtown area, create a safe gathering public space for residents, and transform the area into an urban oasis that functions with natural systems of the landscape.

Block by Block Outreach Manager and Team

In July, we welcomed Amanda Finnell to our Downtown Ambassador program as the new Outreach Manager. Amanda comes to us with a master’s degree in clinical social work and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida State University. Amanda represented Capital City Youth Services as the Street Outreach Supervisor since 2018 and will lead the Outreach Ambassador Program in downtown Orlando. In the few short months that Amanda has been here, she has made great strides training three full-time Outreach Specialists who offer compassionate and expert navigation to some of the most vulnerable living in downtown. 

Supporting Downtown Businesses and Entrepreneurs

In 2019, the CRA amended and renamed the Downtown Façade and Building Stabilization Program (DFBSP). The new program, the Downtown Commercial and Residential Building Improvement Program (DCRBIP), provides funding for building façade and/or stabilization improvements made to vacant or underutilized properties to encourage reuse, improve appearance, and support long-term viability of downtown Orlando. This fiscal year, we added $490,000 to the budget for facade grants, making the total budget nearly one million dollars.

Additionally, we added $50,000 to the Minority/Women Entrepreneur Business Assistance (MEBA) Program, making the budget nearly $250,000 for this fiscal year. The MEBA program provides qualified new and existing retail businesses with monetary assistance for the purposes of business retention/relocation expenses, purchase of capital equipment, marketing, and start-up expenses.

Supporting Arts and Culture

The City of Orlando strives to incorporate the arts into everything we do as a community, as well as increase arts and cultural opportunities. The Downtown Arts District continues to be an important partner with the city and the DDB in growing our arts and cultural scene. This fiscal year, the DDB will support the Downtown Arts District with $25,000. 

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