CRA Project Highlights
Several years in the planning, the complete renovation of downtown Park Avenue’s infrastructure and streetscape took place over three summers in order to maintain business during peak time.
The West New England Avenue streetscape followed along with the creation of the multi-use parking plaza at Pennsylvania and New England Avenues. Shared parking for the Hannibal Square area is further expanded through the Mt. Moriah lease agreement.
Additional streetscapes include Orange Avenue, the Orange Avenue and Fairbanks Avenue intersection, Morse Boulevard, Pennsylvania Avenue, East Welbourne Avenue, Webster Avenue and East New England Avenue.
The redesign of Denning Drive will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, and mobility for all modes of travel. A New York Avenue streetscape is planned to further improve the cohesion and walkability between downtown and Hannibal Square. In all, a total of 23,193 feet of streetscape improvements with an investment of $10 million have been added by the CRA.
The CRA and city partnered with the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce to build the Winter Park Welcome Center to house the Chamber offices, create meeting space and to welcome visitors to the city. Relocating the Chamber of Commerce allowed the creation of the West Meadow park area.
The CRA built the Hannibal Square Heritage Center and established an operating agreement with Crealde School of Art to manage the facility as a showcase of local history and rotating art exhibitions. The Hannibal Square Heritage Center has welcomed over 111,000 guests.
The CRA contributed to the redesign and redevelopment of the Community Center on West New England Avenue. The CRA also partnered in the renovation of Shady Park and the additional of the Spray Ground. The CRA contributed $9 million to the construction of the Community Center and adjacent facilities.
The CRA built the affordable Railroad Avenue Apartments which are managed by the Winter Park Housing Authority. The Railroad Avenue property also included the site of a new water treatment plant. The award winning Water Treatment Plant Façade was attractively designed and landscaped to blend into the neighborhood.
The CRA has contributed to Habitat for Humanity to build affordable single-family homes. Following the Westside Housing Task Force, the CRA partnered with Art in Architecture and the newly established Hannibal Square Community Land Trust (HSCLT) to build homes on Israel Simpson Court. The CRA also funded homes on Comstock Avenue for the HSCLT.
Central Park, the city’s downtown event site and crown jewel, received improvements funded by the CRA in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department. Central Park hosts major events and gatherings including Winter in the Park, and the nationally recognized Winter Park Sidewalk Art and Autumn Art Festivals.
Bus Shelter Improvements were implemented through a partnership between the city, Lynx and Keep Winter Park Beautiful, in an effort to upgrade the city’s bus shelters to provide a more comfortable pick-up and drop-off area for those residents who utilize public transportation opportunities.
The nomination of the Downtown Winter Park Historic District (DWPHD) for the National Register of Historic Places was approved by the National Park Service. This prestigious designation will not only bring heritage tourism to our downtown businesses but it also provides federal tax credits to eligible property owners.
The CRA worked with Park Avenue merchants, Waste Pro, and the Public Works Department to place ten new recycling receptacles along Park Avenue. The recycle bins have the same design standard as the traditional Park Avenue waste containers and will aid in Winter Park’s continuing efforts to become more environmentally-conscious.
The CRA and FTA funded the Art in Transit sculpture “Tree Whisperers”. The project was installed adjacent to the new City of Winter Park Train Station to welcome train passengers as they arrive in beautiful downtown Winter Park.
One of the main attractors to the CRA district is its unique charm and walkability. Staff, working with a private vendor, retrofitted two existing custom designed kiosks that had static displays to digital wayfinding kiosks with interactive capabilities. Located at the northern and southern points of downtown, the kiosks are now able to point visitors and residents alike to nearby businesses and events.
CRA Program Highlights
The CRA supports a number of community initiatives devoted to improving the health, education and environment of the people it serves.
Home Renovation Program
The Home Renovation Program was designed to ensure safety and to maintain the character of residential neighborhoods. To date, over 136 homes have been improved with over $1.5 million invested for income-qualifying families within the CRA.
Residential Driveway & Paint Programs
Home safety improvements are a first priority but improving the aesthetic value of homes also adds to the quality of life for residents. In this new program, owner occupants are eligible for funding to repair or construct driveways, as well as funding for new exterior paint.
Business Façade Matching Grant Program
The Business Façade Improvement Program allows for matching grant funds of up to $20 thousand to be provided toward exterior improvements to businesses within the CRA. The program supports economic stability and maintains the character and quality of commercial districts through leveraging private-public funds. Fifty-two business facades have been improved with an investment of $1.5 million.
Merchant Employee Parking Program
The CRA implemented the Merchant Employee Parking Program to make spaces available on Park Avenue for customers and to offer free all day parking in designed areas for downtown employees.
Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP)
Through the CRA and numerous local non-profit organizations, the SYEP offers paid internships to high school youth focusing on providing real world working experience and developing business etiquette skills to aid with future career success. There have been 158 successful summer youth employment participants.
Qualified Targeted Industry Incentive Program
The CRA promotes the expansion, growth and development of high-wage jobs to maintain the City of Winter Park’s competitiveness as a location for major employers; incentivizing continued long-term investment and involvement in the community.
Community Center Programming
The CRA provides funding to community partners for programs serving all ages at the Winter Park Community Center. The Winter Park Community Center is administered by the city’s Park & Recreation Department; a CRA partner. There have been 40,000 adult and senior Community Center interactions and 12,000 children and youth interactions.