Before a full crowd at Church Street Station, in front of Sunrail, and underneath blue skies, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer delivered the State of the City, in what was a positive but “real” look at the City Beautiful and it’s future.
Sunrail was the centerpiece. The commuter rail system that is scheduled to start in just a couple of weeks, and will eventually stretch from Volusia to Osceola counties was heavily featured as, the Mayor talked about it’s challenging journey from concept to reality. “It’s our very own, ‘Little Engine that Could'” Dyer said. Visitors were able to take a tour of the train after the speech.
He then moved on to the medical city, that was garnering national attention. He talked about Orlando’s status as the “Nation’s most promising Tech Hub” and said that 3K Jobs have or will eventually be created from it.
The city’s next exciting development would take place just a short way from Church street. Dyer touted the Amway Center and the recent success of the NCAA tournament games, and plans for an Entertainment Complex that would be located just across the street. There was finally the MLS Soccer team that was also becoming a reality. “Imagine what a whole (entertainment/sports) district could accomplish” he said. “A Downtown for Everyone”.
He hit on the not-so glamorous issues that effect residents. Potholes, Websites, and Sidewalks were all being addressed and would improve quality of life when navigating the city, on the streets or on-line.
In remarks that have received high praise from the LGBT community since the speech took place a few hours ago, Dyer threw his full support behind Gay Marriage. “Diversity is our Greatest Strength” he said and continued “Some day, I hope Orlando can be the first city in Florida to have a same sex wedding”.
The speech then took a darker turn. The Mayor acknowledged that budget troubles are a possibility and despite measures to “shrink government and keep money in your pockets”; workshops will have to be held to find solutions to keep the financial affairs of the city in order. He also acknowledged that the homelessness problem in Orlando has “not had the kind of success we’ve wanted” and pledged to promote I-Dignity to help the homeless get identification, and to move those affected into stable housing in the next couple of years.
He did bring the audience back up before closing. He thanked those who have helped the city like Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Major League Soccer. He closed saying “The great city we envisioned is in front of us.” “The State of the City is Strong and Ready to take on any Challenge”
After the speech, I spoke to a Candidate that hopes to play a part in future Municipal Politics. Orange County Commission District 2 Candidate Greg Jackson said of the speech “I listen to Mayor Dyer and I see he has a very clear vision for Orlando. The future of medical city. Sunrail and how it’s going to get individuals from home to work ” and continued “It makes me very optimistic about the future of Orlando and Orange County and I’m very excited about what I heard today”.