Eatonville Mayor Eddie Cole narrowly won re-election in the town’s municipal elections earlier this month. He faced a strong challenger in Angie Gardner, a teacher at Hungerford Elementary. Cole has been mayor since 2016 after former Mayor Anthony Grant was suspended for election fraud by Governor Rick Scott.
Since then, Cole has helped the city celebrate its 130th anniversary, strike a deal for new development on the Hungerford Property, and help to increase the town’s taxable value while in office. Speaking with the Orlando Sentinel, Cole believes that the town is on the right track and he wants to continue that mobility.
He’s been visible since becoming mayor, appearing with Governor Rick Scott at different events as well as speaking out against President Donald Trump’s cancelled visit to the town earlier in February.
But for Gardner, she believed that the city lacked vision and thoughtfulness to its approach towards growth. Believing that there are new opportunities for better development, Gardner wanted the town to develop a strategic plan.
There’s focus on Eatonville monetarily. The town sits on the edges of Orlando and Winter Park, and as simple as it sounds, can be seen almost fully from I-4. With Hungerford being developed, Gardner likely believed that city may miss an opportunity to take charge of its future if it didn’t get serious about planning 10-15 ahead.
Cole, for his part, is looking to fix what ails the town right now. Things like crumbling infrastructure and repairing ostensible fixtures, like street and traffic lights. Small on the surface but important for the future. Rebuilding the town’s infrastructure is important if he wants the town to move forward.
Beating his opponent by just 30 votes, Cole doesn’t re-enter office with a mandate. He’s lucky to still be in office and will have to work to regain the trust of the town’s residents.