VISION WEST ORANGE "Nothing happens unless first you dream." (Carl Sandburg)

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1 VISION WEST ORANGE "Nothing happens unless first you dream." (Carl Sandburg) Sponsored by the WEST ORANGE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STRATEGIC PLANNING WORK GROUP AUGUST 2004 FINAL REPORT Facilitated by Marilyn E. Crotty Florida Institute of Government at the University of Central Florida INTRODUCTION

2 In February, 2003, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce held a community visioning session, Visioning A Greater West Orange: 2015, to develop a consensus about the future of the region. Approximately 150 people participated in the ½ day event including residents, business owners, local governments, homeowners associations, youth groups, and civic organizations. During small group discussions that day, an abundance of ideas were generated about the hopes and desires of the participants for the preferred future of the community. The visioning report is included in the appendix. The Chamber grouped the ideas from this report into the following categories: Transportation, Quality of Life, Government, Culture, Social Services, Environment, Business and Employment, Education, Community, and Public Safety. In an effort to further clarify the importance of these issues to the community, the Chamber shared the results of the visioning process with attendees at the Orlando Business Journal Growth Report event in April of 2003, asking them to rank the ideas within each category (see Vision Priority ranking in appendix.) In August, 2003, participants at the Beyond the Vision breakfast were asked to further refine the ideas by now ranking the top ideas from the April survey (Beyond the Vision Breakfast Survey included in appendix.) The Chamber then appointed the Strategic Planning Work Group (SPWG) to incorporate the results of the earlier meetings and surveys into a strategic plan for the region. This volunteer group was broadly representative of the stakeholders in the community including representatives from local governments, businesses, schools, environmental organizations, healthcare providers, and developers. The following plan is the product of the discussions and decisions made by the SPWG during the five months they met. While they incorporated many of the ideas generated in the previous workshops and surveys, it was the intent of the SPWG to craft a plan that addressed current concerns, could be implemented by a variety of community groups, and would set the stage for further exploration of the vision. In any strategic planning process, there should be flexibility to adjust to changing conditions and an understanding that with limited resources, the implementation of goals and objectives is best accomplished through partnerships. The strategic planning process the SPWG followed included the development of a vision statement and a mission for the project. They then conducted an environmental scan to identify trends and issues that might affect West Orange County. The next step in the process was an examination of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing the community. This background information led to a listing of strategic issues and the development of nine goals. The group specified objectives for each goal and selected priorities for implementation. This final report is submitted to the West Orange Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for their review.

3 Based on the discussions at the Visioning a Greater West Orange: 2015 session, the Strategic Planning Work Group (SPWG) developed the following vision statement that represents the aspirations of all the stakeholders in the community. WEST ORANGE COUNTY VISION West Orange County provides an ideal quality of life where communities and their governments work together to ensure responsible growth while protecting our natural environment, resources, and historic character. Our residents enjoy a diverse and vibrant economy, cultural and recreational activities, exceptional health care, and outstanding educational opportunities. In order to focus on the task at hand, the SPWG discussed the purpose of the strategic plan and how it can impact the community. The following mission statement puts forth the rationale for this effort. MISSION Through the development and implementation of a strategic plan, we will foster relationships and promote processes and tools necessary to fully realize the West Orange County Vision.

4 ENVIRONMENTAL SCAN The SPWG assessed the political, legal, socio-cultural, economic, technological, and competitive environment that currently exists and discussed the trends they think will occur in the next five to ten years in each of these areas. The assessment ranged from issues at the global level to local concerns. The brainstorming session resulted in the following: Political and Legal Increased environmental protection Regional outlook increased International concerns become more regional issues Security and safety issues Additional tension More rage, more litigation More special interests Major healthcare changes: tort reform Healthcare insurance More tension between communities as communities move closer to each other Limited resources too small a pie Increased meddling from government Privacy loss of Socio-Cultural Languages computer, English, Spanish More people of color More continuing acceptance of cultural diversity More testing in education Testing trends Cultural and sports activities through community activities Younger families Continued population growth Increased cost of housing More transient neighbors Integrate uses into close proximity

5 Economic Economy will continue to grow significantly Not enough diversity too much service Urban sprawl Corporate relocations Transportation enhancements Bullet train Interconnectivity with South Lake/Orange Increase Internet purchases and create loss of revenue Change in tax structure Water supply (potable) Source of electric power Economy continues to become globalized Fear of terrorism Shift from schools to other venues for resources due to costs of education Loss of arts and sports Technological Telecommunications will change the way we work Medical care will change delivery of it and treatment Water; good power Increase in dependence on imported products Competitive Lower wages Cheaper cost of living High tech jobs Weather issues More construction and tourism industry competition More competition in political arena that leads to national attention Swing vote state in national elections Education comparison to nation will be below average in some indicators Transportation positive on air/sea/railroad/space Tax structures Labor (friendly) low wage Improving amenities to attract in communities Beautiful weather

6 STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, THREATS In order to plan for the future, regions must take a realistic look at their existing strengths, the internal resources or capabilities that make them successful. At the same time, it is necessary to identify existing weaknesses or internal deficiencies that hinder a region from reaching its full potential. Externally there are opportunities or situations that could affect the region in a favorable way; while at the same time, a region must be aware of external factors that can affect them in a negative way. The SPWG analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing West Orange County and listed the following: Strengths: People Diversity of citizens (2) Strong civic organizations (2) High profile/interest in our community Wealth of resources Lakes (3) Water Land Beautiful topography Location Climate High growth Some good planning models have been adopted Strong schools Recreation West Orange Trail Transportation roads (2) Orlando International Airport Great health care Health Central Unique communities Governmental entities Winter Garden, Ocoee, Windermere, Oakland, Orange County Intergovernmental cooperation (2) Weaknesses: Transportation Road system Lack of public transportation (2) Traffic Uncoordinated, duplicated efforts to resolve traffic problems Pedestrian sidewalks Transient population

7 Apathy of citizens Low participation by minorities and women in local and state Government/political offices and agencies Cultural diversity Cultural events and opportunities (2) Overcrowding Development Planning new residential developments with new schools School capacity, overcrowding (2) Quality of public school education (compared to national statistics) Higher education college campus High tech/non-service jobs/careers, etc. Lack of coordination between municipalities Many government structures (cities, county, districts) to coordinate No unified funding source Image Opportunities: Location Promoting what West Orange actually is! Rural areas must be kept as a priority for planning to capitalize on future opportunities Time factor There is still time to make positive changes Development Interest in developing guidelines for growth Planning awareness Planned growth Horizon West Areas with lower densities mean opportunity to design rational transportation network Mass transit land S.R. 429 Year round weather perfect for recreation Turn Lake Apopka into valuable recreation asset Growth of higher education opportunities Advancement of technology Medical care malpractice Public/public or public/private partnerships More community involvement (new people, creative ideas) Sense of community

8 Threats: National and world economy downward, turbulent (3) Lack of employment centers Illegal immigrants threaten available jobs Effect of terrorism and war on tourism industry (2) Concerns over availability of medical care Finite water resources Uncontrolled growth Overbuilding Planning new residential developments with new schools As the area grows the threat to lose your small town identity High growth rate could overwhelm transportation and other infrastructure Lake County growth may have large impact (negative) on infrastructure Bordering communities expanding (if we don t work together) Sense of community

9 This led to the identification of strategic issues that need to be addressed for West Orange County to achieve its vision. The strategic issues resulted in the development of nine goals with multiple objectives for each goal. The following definitions were used for formulating goals and objectives: A goal is a broad directional statement of emphasis or intent to do or accomplish something in the future. An objective is a desirable specific output or result that is measurable, observable, or identifiable, with a timetable and a person who is accountable or responsible for its accomplishment. Ultimately, the SPWG selected priority objectives for implementation. The objectives are presented as being either a tier one or a tier two priority. The number in parens ( ) after each objective indicates the number of people in the Work Group who supported the objective as a priority. There is no significance to the order of the goals. GOALS To promote and facilitate intergovernmental coordination related to the West Orange County strategic plan To promote and support activities that enhance economic-related opportunities in West Orange County To promote the development of diverse recreational and cultural facilities, programs, and activities To encourage the protection and enhancement of the natural environment in balance with planned growth To provide diverse and superior educational opportunities for all citizens in West Orange County To establish and cultivate effective community partnerships with public and private entities To support the development of a high quality transportation system that meets present and future demands To ensure that high quality health care is accessible and available to all citizens of West Orange County To promote a safe environment in West Orange County

10 GOALS and OBJECTIVES GOAL To promote and facilitate intergovernmental coordination related to the West Orange County strategic plan Tier One Objectives Convene a series of meetings (summits, roundtables, etc.) for local governments (staff and elected officials) to implement solutions (13) Other Objectives Transmit final report of plan to local governments and boards (County Commission, City Councils, School Board, S. Lake County governments, etc.) (6) Identify current intergovernmental meetings, boards, etc. (communication network) (1) GOAL To promote and support activities that enhances economic-related opportunities in West Orange County Tier One Objectives Develop a marketing plan (10) Tier Two Objectives Development of employment centers (9) Redevelopment (9) To develop an employment profile for West Orange (7) Other Objectives Incentives (6) Relationship with National Entrepreneur Center (4) Attract corporate headquarters of current residents (3) Incubators (high tech, etc.) Identify venture capital opportunities

11 GOAL To promote the development of diverse recreational and cultural facilities, programs, and activities Tier One Objectives Support regional park with multi-cultural center (performing arts), amphitheater, sportsplex (11) Tier Two Objectives Expand the trail system with provision for safety measures multi-use trails; connect to schools (8) Other Objectives Promote marinas and marine activity on Lake Apopka (3) GOAL To encourage the protection and enhancement of the natural environment in balance with planned growth Tier One Objectives Support efforts to maintain and protect water quality of lakes in region including enforcement activities (12) Identify appropriate areas for conservation, preservation (corridors), and eco-tourism (12) Other Objectives Promote educational activities concerning native plants, drought resistant landscape, irrigation, pest control, etc. (Tour of Homes) (6) Identify landowner incentives for land conservation (5) Support water re-use by local governments (1) Encourage governments to use xeriscaping (drought-resistant) landscaping (public rights-of-way, parks, etc.) Review existing ordinances (landscape, arbor) in area for appropriateness

12 GOAL To provide diverse and superior educational opportunities for all citizens in West Orange County Tier One Objectives Promote increased higher education opportunities in West Orange County (13) Tier Two Objectives Encourage development of specialty programs that align with West Orange economic development plans and its unique resources (all educational levels) (8) Support school nurse program identify consistent funding sources and awareness (7) GOAL To establish and cultivate effective community partnerships with public and private entities Tier Two Objectives Identify opportunities for partnerships, (groups, activities, needs) (8) Other Objectives Use school facilities as multi-use entities (community health centers, etc.) (6) Inventory existing partnerships (3) GOAL To support the development of a high quality transportation system that meets present and future demands Tier Two Objectives Evaluate and update plans for West Orange County road improvements (8) Encourage development of multi-modal transportation plan for West Orange County

13 Other Objectives Protect/develop arterial capacity through use of traffic system management (6) Evaluate all sources of funding transportation needs (3) Coordinate transportation plans with Lake County (W. Orange/S. Lake Transportation Task Force) (3) Advocate for the security of transportation trust funds (2) Explore new technologies in transportation (2) Support car pooling designate parking facilities (1) Encourage coordination of infrastructure in right-of-way to minimize disruption Explore partnership between Orange County Public Schools and Lynx to expand transit alternatives GOAL To ensure that high quality health care is accessible and available to all citizens of West Orange County Tier Two Objectives Promote development of additional affordable, community-based health centers in West Orange (co-locate community facilities, schools) (7) Other Objectives Explore options for affordable insurance programs for small businesses (6) Support legislation and actions to improve availability/affordability of mental and physical health care (5) Promote Health Alliance and additional public/private endeavors (5) GOAL To promote a safe environment in West Orange County Tier Two Objectives Improve pedestrian safety (sidewalks, bike lanes/paths, lighting, etc.) in mature Communities (7)

14 Other Objectives Identify interlocal agreements and communication interfaces to provide adequate police and fire protection to all of West Orange County (5) Encourage CPTED guidelines in new development (5) Advocate citizen-based police patrolling and neighborhood safety programs (2) CONCLUDING COMMENTS The goals, objectives, and priorities included in this report reflect the consensus of the members of the Strategic Plan Work Group. The implementation of them should become the responsibility of a variety of groups in the community. The West Orange Chamber of Commerce can perhaps best promote these goals by collaborating in appropriate efforts that move West Orange County towards its vision.

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