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Jernigan

Where's the spirit?

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I had a chance to check out the Osborne Family light show at Hollywood Studios and wasn't just amazed by their over-the-top show - but it was nice just seing other parts of the theme park tastefully lit up with lights.

Then I found myself in downtown DeLand earlier this week and saw some of the same- including gaint toy soldiers framing many of the main intersections.

What do you guys attribute to the lack of lights and decoration in our downtown? We have Christmas tree by Lake Eola and some lights in the park but yet there is nothing really along Orange Avenue or in the CBD. The lights that look like falling stars or snow on the trees have been up for months.

City Hall has a wreath and some sparse lighting.

Tis the season and I'm sad that our downtown doesn't look much like a "Christmas Village"

Since it crosses both municipal buildings and private ones, I am at a loss as to why it's so blank.

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I wonder the same thing...

 

In London, 576365_4162491946185_223307784_n.jpg

 

 

Even in Winter Park, the could have do Xmas windows display in all the shops...

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There was an interesting article in the Sentinel recently about how the city had "outsourced" Christmas decorations to a private company (based somewhere in Central Florida). The city pays the company to handle all of the decorations that adorn the light poles around town. According to the article, this is cheaper than the city doing the work (storing the decorations, maintaining them, etc.). This is an improvement from a year ago in which the city did not put out any of these types of decorations.

 

You're damned if you do, damned if you don't with this kind of stuff. Spend too much and you're accused of being frivolous. Spend too little and you're accused of having no Christmas spirit.

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they can always find sponsorship for it or create a competition for it...

 

They should just run downtown like a themepark...

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Actually, several of the decorations that used to be in Eola Park (like the waving Santa) got spirited away to I-Drive *sigh*. The theme parks always win - having said that, I consider Walt's greatest gift to Orlando the fact that he bought out in BFE so that downtown can remain tourist-free. Rich Crotty renamed I-Drive "Downtown Orange County" - I much prefer REAL Downtown Orlando, thank you.

 

For the natives among us, the historic star at Central and Orange was erected with a great bit of ceremony a few weeks back. I certainly would not disagree with more decorations, but one way to get that would be to get more retail downtown (the star came about because of the two big department stores downtown in the '50's) - bars aren't usually the sort to go in for elaborate holiday displays. Also, Buddy is a "big picture" guy - he has never been one for microdetails of this sort - perhaps with the next mayor.

Edited by spenser1058

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I'm just surprised some building owners don't put some tasteful lighting up. It seems like the kind of thing that once one or two do the others will jump on board to keep up and the net affect would be positive for mostly everyone.

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Tourists are what make a downtown hopping....

 

Remove tourists from NYC, LA....u will have downtown Miami....

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Tourists are wonderful if they come to see what has been built for the community. My problem is when we start building ersatz projects to attract tourists. If they like what we've done through the organic growth of our downtown, no one is happier to see them than I am. When you start putting up "attractions" for them, that's not a downtown, that's a bunch of t-shirt shops. That concept also rarely works. American downtowns were littered with "festival marketplaces" in the 80's that were supposed to attract tourists - the overwhelming majority of them failed. 

 

Terror on Church Street, anyone?

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If the city put some second rated tourist attractions like Terror on church street or 99 cents t shirt store...of course it will fail.

 

Try something big like space needle, london eye, st louis arch, ...

 

They can even build stuff that locals and tourists can share together...ie, Petronas towers...or world class museums......

 

Imagine the entire Idrive live project smack right down Parramorre...Orlando eye, aquarium and wax museum...

 

Anyway, I think the still have ghost tour in downtown Orlando...

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Tourists are what make a downtown hopping....

 

Remove tourists from NYC, LA....u will have downtown Miami....

Not necessarily. It has to be a natural, organic draw. Unfortunately, most American tourists don't even know there is a downtown Orlando. I had family of friends try correcting my use of "downtown Orlando" with "Downtown Disney."

 

Placing the I-Drive live experience downtown would only cheapen the area. It wouldn't work in downtown Orlando. The ferris wheel concept only works well where there is a romantic landscape. Unfortunately, that's not downtown Orlando. Neither is I-Drive, but I digress. The draw for tourists to downtown Orlando will need to be in the experiential. Perhaps an interesting museum, to begin, notable architecture, etc. We also need a rail link to bring tourists from the attractions corridor into downtown. I even think a dining district with great atmosphere would work. Imagine if Magnolia was dotted with outdoor cafes from the courthouse to the DPAC. That's something that could be marketed and would draw visitors. We have so many waterfronts in the area and don't take advantage. A shopping & dining development could benefit being along Lake Lucerne, Eola, Park Lake, or Ivanhoe. Something even missing from Restaurant Row. Only Rocco's Tacos and Seasons 52 seem to take advantage of their lakefront real estate.

 

I will say this. European tourists tend to find a genuine "Orlando" experience and venture into downtown Orlando and Winter Park. I've met said demographic on several occassions and given them a brief tour. I usually recommend they visit the OC Regional History Museum. I do feel bad though, because there isn't much for them to see/do downtown. They often ask where the closest mall is. Downtown needs retail. Now, had Millenia been built in Parramore, that would be a different story all together. Imagine if Millenia was infront of Amway Center... that would draw both locals and visitors.

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 I even think a dining district with great atmosphere would work. Imagine if Magnolia was dotted with outdoor cafes from the courthouse to the DPAC. That's something that could be marketed and would draw visitors.

Every time I drive down Magnolia, I wonder how we somehow managed to preserve one of our nicest streets downtown. It has so much potential. It's also one of the few streets that makes driving a car feel out of place... a feeling akin to driving on a sidewalk or something. I'd love to get rid of the car lane and turn it into a pedestrian only street - similar to Lincoln Rd on Miami Beach. We also need more street trees & greener streetscapes. I'd like to see an actual downtown botanical garden with Florida friendly plants, blossoming citrus trees, crepe myrtles etc.

 

Getting back on topic, I'm one of those people who could do without the over-the-top Christmas decorations. Tastefully lighting street trees and buildings - I'm okay with. But I'd rather not see misc decorations like snowmen, santa, reindeer, etc. And I know Christmas trees are hard to decorate, but the Lake Eola xmas tree could use some fine tuning.

Edited by nite owℓ
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Every time I drive down Magnolia, I wonder how we somehow managed to preserve one of our nicest streets downtown. It has so much potential. It's also one of the few streets that makes driving a car feel out of place... a feeling akin to driving on a sidewalk or something. I'd love to get rid of the car lane and turn it into a pedestrian only street - similar to Lincoln Rd on Miami Beach. We also need more street trees & greener streetscapes. I'd like to see an actual downtown botanical garden with Florida friendly plants, blossoming citrus trees, crepe myrtles etc.

 

Getting back on topic, I'm one of those people who could do without the over-the-top Christmas decorations. Tastefully lighting street trees and buildings - I'm okay with. But I'd rather not see misc decorations like snowmen, santa, reindeer, etc. And I know Christmas trees are hard to decorate, but the Lake Eola xmas tree could use some fine tuning.

I agree with every statement in this post.

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I've always thought a smaller pedestrian mall on S Court Ave between Central and Pine would be nice.  It could help to activate an underutilized street that has some pretty decent building facades.

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It would be nice if someone in city planning and business development/real estate is reading these ideas. Typing this, I just remembered that downtown Denver has a retail district on one of their main thoroughfares (16th Street Mall) and connects the distance via a free, dedicated bus similar to LYNX. #potential. Connecting retail, restaurant and entertainment along this route from the Courthouse/Steel House to the DPAC and spread into nooks like Court, as Praha stated, would be a great draw.

 

Then, back on topic--- tastefully light the trees along this route during the holidays and perhaps even have a show projected onto a block of facades, similar to what SNAP! does on the Kress building, every half hour or so would be a nice draw.

 

In addition, does anyone recall "The Theatre District" project between Magnolia and Rosalind? If I remember correctly (because I really like the design), it was proposed as two towers of different height with a public plaza cut at an angle between the two towers. There was to be a difference in grade allowing for steps from one side of the block to the other and of course, ground floor retail space. I'd like to see this project back on the table to breathe life into the area and compliment the DPAC.

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