Orange County – With the recent approval of the new venues proposal for the downtown area, activities are in high gear to enhance the Parramore area surrounding those new venues. Beginning in 2005, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and District 5 Commissioner Daisy Lynum announced the Pathways for Parramore initiative. The program focuses on five pathways that will be addressed to raise the bar in Parramore. These include housing, business development, children & education, public safety and quality of life.
One of those pathways has recently been fulfilled with the new addition of Parramore Heritage Park. The recent park opening was celebrated with live entertainment, food and information about city services. As well, a clock donated by the Downtown Orlando Foundation was dedicated at the new park, which is located on 705 W. Church Street at the corner of W. Church Street and Parramore Avenue. The clock, designed to beautify downtown Orlando, will provide a new urban landmark much like the Delacorte musical clock in New York City’s Central Park and Chicago’s Marshall Fields clock.
The Pathways for Parramore initiative was born from a task force commissioned by Mayor Dyer in November of 2003, which included various research and input for recommendations on how to proceed with the revitalization of the Parramore area. All of current and future planning will be focused on enhancing the area surround the new Performing Arts Center, the new Orlando Magic Arena, and the Citrus Bowl. Those venues are tentatively scheduled for completion in 2010. Officials hope to bring more business and community life to the area as part of downtown growth planning.
Another recent achievement in Parramore to fulfill this goal was the recent national recognition of the Parramore Kidz Zone Project. That project, molded after the Harlem Children’s Zone, seeks to create outreach to engage children of the area and involve them in positive opportunities, including pre-kindergarten education, parenting education, healthcare, mentoring, tutoring, and constructive activities during the summer recess.
The effort was launched last year involving over 40 community partners and has seen an impact in over 25% of the kids in the neighborhood. The plan received national recognition by being selected for inclusion in a national initiative for youth, education and families. As a result, the Parramore Kidz Zone will benefit from access to national experts, knowledge sharing and professional development. This also includes supplementary national funding opportunities for further growth and sustainability of the project.