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bsutter2

The future of Florida's cities

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Recently, Florida has been projected to become the 3rd most populated state in America in 20 years. Most of these people are projected to move into the Tampa Bay/Orlando area, but wont be limited to just these areas, as many portions of North and West Florida will also explode. As more and more people move to Florida, the character of the state will change dramatically. I see in the future Florida becoming a sort of "California of the South".

Florida already commands a major US City, Miami. There are quite a number of up-and coming cities in the state, namely Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando.

Tampa is well known as a major technological, shipping and entertainment hub of the gulf coast, and is growing at a rapid pace. Downtown is booming, to the point where Donald Trump has chosen Tampa to become his personal hub to the south, and the location of his newest highrise condo, Trump Tower Tampa (which I believe will become the tallest building in Tampa). Tampa has previously hosted the Superbowl a few times, and is believed to be the front runner in the next showdown for the big game (not sure on exactly which year, whichever one has not been locked up and picked yet). Tampa is home to USF, a univerity which has recently been added to the Princeton review's best colleges in America, is the number 1 (by number of researchers) research college in America, and is currently the 14th biggest university in America (2nd in the state). Culturally, the city is on fire, with many great night clubs/bars in historic Ybor City, great night life in Channelside, awesome concerts at the Ford Ampitheter, first class gambling at the Seminole hard rock casino, Busch Gardens, and a slew of proffesional sports teams in town. World class beaches are right down the road.

Some cons to Tampa however are the traffic (but really, what big city doesn't have problems here), lack of adequate mass transit, a fairly high crime rate, and a lack of great beaches fairly close (pinellas county can be a tough drive sometimes)

Orlando is a city that might be known best for its world class theme parks, but it is currently trying to shed its image to something more. The actual city is pretty small, but when the entire metro and bordering areas that consider themselves as Orlando are taken into effect, the area is gigantic. The Greater Orlando tv market is in the top 20 in America. Orlando has a great reputation for its cleanliness and apperence, and has plans to build up downtown with a large ammount of upscale condos, which will help an already vibrant downtown scene become even more lively. Orlando is currently trying its best to shed the image of a "tourist town" and into more of a technological powerhouse, as is shown by the recent aquisition of Electronic Art's home office, the videogame mega-producer. Orlando is also home of the busiest airport in the state of florida, and also contains UCF, which just like USF has been added to the princeton review's best colleges in america for this year, and is no longer considered a second tier university.

Some cons for Orlando would definatly be traffic, and a dependence on the volitile (but still profitiable) tourist industry. The k-12 schools in the area are also not up to par with the rest of the country.

Jacksonville is also growing at a lightning pace, and is keeping up with the rest of florida a very balanced, well planed city. Home to the Jaguars and the most recent superbowl, the city is fighting hard to get up with the big boys. The city uses the St. Johns river very well, and has some very nicely designed skyscrapers. Ill admit I dont know anywhere near as much about JAX as the other two, because ive spent much less time in 904 then the other two. I will say though that Jax has always impressed me and should continue everything that it is doing.

As you can see, I love my Florida. Ive talked about a few up and coming cities in the state, Id love to hear some of your opinions on these cities and the state in general.

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Let me ask... is it wise for Orlando to try to seperate itself from tourism when thats whats been the driving force behind its growth?

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I think "separation" is a bit harsh -- diversification is definitely needed, though. Osceola and Orange counties have focused too much, I think, on tourism, and they could do what Seminole County did and focus on more non-tourism sectors.

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Like he said, diversify more. Tourism is a great cash cow, but 9/11 scared away many tourists, and almost the entire CFL region felt the impact tremendously. I live in seminole county and think that it is a good model for the rest of the region.

Tourism is a great money maker, but way too unpredictable to sustain the economy of a region IMO.

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There was a great article from the Sentinel that I posted on here a few days ago about the Orlando economy. It basically predicted that tourism is now leveling off after all these years of rapid growth and the fastest growing industries in the Central Florida region will be computer science and healthcare in the years to come. A welcome change if you ask me!!

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I think one important factor that isn't being taken very seriously in all of these cities (outside of Miami) is the expansion of mass transit, namely rail transit. They're all going to have significant traffic gridlock and funding issues soon, if not already. This is a problem we won't be able to pave ourselves out of, no matter what the State Government thinks.

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Years ago Governor Jeb Bush decided he wanted to "diversify" Tallahassee's economy by cutting over 5000+ state jobs without reason. Im not truly clear on his real intention, but he pointed out his desire to have Tallahassee be more than a capital city. Surely thats a great thing, but when you take emphasis off of your major industry, in our case Government, in Orlando's case tourism, the identity of your community beings to transform with it and sometimes not for the better. In the case of Tallahassee we've had success recruiting new business, and surely Orlando will find ease doing the same, but the door is being left open for another city to take over as tourism capital and it may not be one in Florida.

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TaureanJ, you're making it sound like all of the tourism businesses that have set up in Orlando metro are suddenly going to pack up and leave. Ain't happening. Disney, Universal, the tons of hotels and resorts, and countless others have spent BILLIONS of dollars to build up what they have, and they have a vested interest in staying in business. Now when a business development council decides that they want to entice other businesses to their area, that's not a bad thing. It gives an opportunity for new high-skilled workers who may have given an area a look but might otherwise not relocate because there's no work for them. But this doesn't mean that the existing businesses can't expand their offerings and continue to attract visitors and remain competitive.

Also, the state has a vested interest in keeping tourism strong in Central Florida. As a state with no income tax, Florida is extremely dependent on the money collected from sales taxes.

It's not good to put all your eggs in one basket. Sure, tourism has done wonders for Central Florida, that's indisputable, but if you're too dependent on it, you can't offset the downturns when times go sour.

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Furthermore, when we are talking about Orlando expanding its economy, we are talking about the CITY of Orlando, not the unincorporated areas that are under the control of the county. Make no bones about it, Orange County is very much dedicated to maintaining the tourism sector (especially the growing convention business) but finally the city has realized that for it to compete respectfully, its going to have to diversify. The problem has been for way too long that the city itself gets screwed because its not really seeing any of the benefits of tourism, while the county gets richer and richer. I know this may seem crazy right now, but I definitely see a time in our future when downtown Orlando gets more visitors everyday than downtown Disney, Citywalk, or I-Drive because naturally people prefer an urban environment to a suburban one when they are looking for something to do.

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I think one important factor that isn't being taken very seriously in all of these cities (outside of Miami) is the expansion of mass transit, namely rail transit.  They're all going to have significant traffic gridlock and funding issues soon, if not already.  This is a problem we won't be able to pave ourselves out of, no matter what the State Government thinks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This concerns me as well. Many, if not most, of our state legislators and bureaucrats are very backward-thinking and behind the times when it comes to the "big picture" behind development and transportation infrastructure.

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This concerns me as well. Many, if not most, of our state legislators and bureaucrats are very backward-thinking and behind the times when it comes to the "big picture" behind development and transportation infrastructure.

This does seem to be the case all around the south, not just in Flordia. Unfortunate though. Flordia will have to get its act totally together to become such a big state. Good luck.

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This does seem to be the case all around the south, not just in Flordia. Unfortunate though. Flordia will have to get its act totally together to become such a big state. Good luck.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This writer has a valid point. If nothing is done to change the way we are growing, we will be facing some major issues in the future.

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This writer has a valid point. If nothing is done to change the way we are growing, we will be facing some major issues in the future.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree, as the Tampa Bay region is having enormous traffic issues which are due , in part, to the lack of mass transit or the lack of planning thereof.

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I agree, as the Tampa Bay region is having enormous traffic issues which are due , in part, to the lack of mass transit or the lack of planning thereof.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

tallahassee is also tackling traffic issues. I believe htat if tallahassee wanted to secure her futur appeal,she might make plans that would accept increased growth rather than trying to balance today's problems on yesterdays maps. maybe it is time for a serious improvement. If not now,i am afraid there will be more to work around in the future

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^ I totally agree Murphy.

Truth is access to I-10 is insufficent for the rapidly growing S. Tallahassee area. As growth continues from Southwood to the Gulf Coast leaders need to find a way to make the South more accesable from the Interstate and vice versa.

I've propsed a spur route and I've been told by other forumers that the best idea may be to use Capital Circle 319 as the main route of travel from I-10 and have the spur shoot from South of there to the coast. This would be good if only the road weren't a stop-and-go traffic signal facility.

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