Dear Mayor Leary, Vice-Mayor Weldon, and City Manager Randy Knight:
We have a problem in Winter Park. You, as city leaders, are not fostering a culture of listening to residents, especially those on the Westside.
Recently, we pleaded with you not to sell Blake Yard. We begged you to consider making a community garden of the space. This was one of the last gems of city-owned urban greenspace.
After you up-zoned and sold Blake Yard, we fought the intrusion of an 8-unit cluster housing apartment building on Comstock, a street of single family homes. Again, you didn’t consider residents’ concerns.
Now you have a proposal to bisect W. Lyman Avenue at New York. You will cut off the Westside from Park Avenue. I read in the agenda item that the Chamber of Commerce is in favor of this change. I note further that staff will reach out to local businesses and will take this concept to the Transportation Advisory Board and the CRA Advisory Board for further review.
What’s missing here? Oh, them! Has it occurred to you to ask what the residents think — especially those on the Westside who will be most impacted?
What would be your reaction if the city were going to cut your street in half, making your block a dead end and forcing you to reroute to reach the other side of town? Imagine further that the city didn’t inform you of this, but rather sought input only from the neighbors on the other half of the bisected street – all of whom were commercial.
Brilliant Color, Dark Humor and an Examination of ‘Place’
Rollins College Cornell Fine Arts Museum (CFAM) launches its Winter 2019 season today with a thought-provoking exhibit featuring favorites from the permanent collection and the debut of several new acquisitions. The show builds conversations around notions of ‘place’ – the city, places of devotion, landscape, the politics of place and the experience of place beyond the immediate.
What is place?
What is home?
Where do you fit – and how?
This is the essence of “The Place as Metaphor.”
Rococolab – Brilliant Color, Dark Humor
Of particular note is the gallery devoted to “The De la Torre Brothers: Rococolab.” Collaborating artist-brothers Einar and Jamex De la Torre live and work in Ensenada, Mexico and San Diego, California. Their dynamic, baroque-inspired glass work is the product of their bicultural life, which floats freely between Mexico and the U.S.
Though they are widely known in international art circles, this is the De la Torre brothers’ first solo museum exhibition in Florida. Organized by CFAM Curator Gisela Carbonell, the presentation of their work invites consideration of some of the most pressing issues in contemporary culture. Using bright light, vivid color and some very dark humor, the De la Torre brothers’ work speaks a visual language to which contemporary viewers can easily relate.
Bicultural, Bilingual English and Spanish
As you walk into the gallery, the grouping of intricate images waits, like gifts in a box, for you to unpack each one. Open them up and discover inside the beauty, joy, dark humor and scary truths they contain. The exhibit is accompanied by an illustrated booklet, available in the museum store, which is written both in English and in Spanish.
CFAM is located at 1000 Holt Avenue on the Rollins campus. It is open Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free in 2019, courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group. To check hours and special programs, visit the website at Rollins.edu/cfam
The show will be on view from January 17 to May 12, 2019.
The Rollins campus is about to get some major upgrades. The college unveiled plans to double student dormitory space and provide around 600 additional parking spaces in a new garage at the site of the current surface lot on Fairbanks and Ollie Avenue.
The architectural style of the new buildings will be consistent with the current Rollins style, and the new buildings will be constructed to minimize the appearance of mass – but they are going to be a whole lot bigger.
“We Are Not Growing the College”
In a presentation to the Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Board, Rollins President Grant Cornwell stated that Rollins has no intention of becoming any larger than it is now. “We are not growing the college,” said Cornwell, “we are simply adding residential capacity.” Cornwell added that, in his view, Rollins is ‘where it should be’ and there is no intention to increase its size.
40 Percent of Students Live Off Campus
Cornwell explained that, at present, 40 percent of the student body must reside off campus because of the shortage of student housing. McKean Hall, the current 60-year-old dormitory, has 250 to 275 beds, providing space for only the freshman and sophomore classes.
Student Housing Capacity Will Double
Rollins plans to build 250,000 square feet of new dormitories with approximately 500 beds and rooms for three Resident Advisors in the area immediately surrounding McKean Hall. Students will continue to inhabit McKean Hall until the new dorms are completed. When the new dorms are finished, McKean Hall will be demolished and a large swimming pool and patio will be built in the center courtyard, surrounded by the new dorms. This will enable the college to bring the entire junior class back onto campus.
Goal is to Increase Quality of Student Learning Experience
“Our primary goal is to increase the quality of the student learning experience by bringing them back into campus life,” said Cornwell. “What students learn outside the classroom, living with their peers, going to lectures, athletic events, musical events – and just the very dynamic of campus life – is part of the value that we bring.”
Current Student Housing Out of Date
Secondly, while Rollins is well ranked among liberal arts colleges, it is in what Cornwell described as a fierce competitive market. The current residential housing stock is old and out of date and does not live up to the expectations of students and their parents. “So,” said Cornwell, “we are both serving our mission and competing in a market.”
‘This is One Way for Rollins to be a Better Neighbor’
“The third reason,” said Cornwell, “is also important to us. We think this is a way for Rollins to be better neighbors.” Drawing a chuckle from the audience, Cornwell acknowledged that while Rollins’ 18- to 23-year-old students are all wonderful, they are not always wonderful neighbors. We think we will be a better neighbor to Winter Park if more of our students are brought back into the flow of campus life, Cornwell said.
On Campus Parking Will Be Safer
Cornwell pointed out that the new parking garage will free up spaces in the Sun Trust garage and will reduce the need for students and faculty to cross Fairbanks Avenue on foot. On campus parking should also take a good many student vehicles off the streets of Winter Park.
Construction Project on a Fast Track
Rollins hopes to complete construction and have the new dorms ready for occupancy by the beginning of the 2020 Fall term.
P&Z approved the application unanimously. The project will move forward to the Commission at the second January meeting.
Winter Park’s Finest changed their dress code for the holidays. Unaccustomed facial hair on the men and festive fingernails on the women celebrate “No Shave, Pretty Nails December.”
Unfortunately, the reason is not all mistletoe and holly and it is anything but jolly. This is a fundraising effort on behalf of Master Police Officer John Reynolds, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer last spring. Many Winter Parkers know this 47-year-old husband and father of two as a Resource Officer at Lakemont Elementary School. Reynolds is a 15-year veteran on the Winter Park Police Force and well liked in the community.
He needs our help.
His earlier treatments were not effective, so Officer Reynolds now must travel to New York for treatment. The treatments are every other week, and travel expenses for Reynolds and his wife are not covered by insurance.
“This is a long road for the family,” said newly-bearded Police Chief Michael Deal. “They just hit a new deductible in October – and the travel will not be covered. We are doing our best to help the family – and we sure could use some help from the community.”
To support Officer John Reynolds, please click here: