Winter Park Candidates Square Off

View Complete Video of University Club, Chamber Debates Here

Winter Park Candidates Square Off


WPVoice forum

If turnout at the past two candidate debates is any indication, the current election cycle seems to have sparked unprecedented interest among Winter Park voters. 

Candidates Face Off at University Club of WP

The Winter Park Voice hosted a candidate forum at the University Club of Winter Park at 5:30 p.m. February 10. The moderator was Michele Levy, Co-President of The Orange County League of Women Voters. The crowd was standing-room-only, and many were turned away because of fire code limitations. For those who missed this first debate, click here to see video of the entire debate.

Chamber Hosts Second Debate

Three days later, on the auspicious morning of Friday the 13th, Winter Park’s four candidates faced off once again before another packed house, this time at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center. This 8:00 a.m. debate, hosted by the Chamber, was moderated by Chamber President Patrick Chapin and Chamber Board Member Kyle Taylor. Questions ran the gamut, from downtown parking, traffic and trees to “Say something nice about your opponent.” Again, the crowd was standing-room-only.

At the request of the Chamber, this debate in its entirety was taped by the Winter Park Voice. To view the video, click here.

Library Debates Feb. 19 and Feb. 25

The Winter Park Library will host the final two candidate debates. Mayoral candidates will debate at Noon on Thursday, February 19, and candidates for Commission Seat #1 will debate at Noon on Wednesday, February 25.


Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen when you are viewing the website. Or click this button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at

Lee Road Site Gets a Makeover

Breast Reduction for Winter Park

Lee Road Site Gets a Makeover

At 11:30 on the morning of February 11, a big yellow crane flattened the iconic breast-shaped roofs of the building at 2600 Lee Road formerly known as the Booby Trap. In a unanimous vote December 8, 2014, the Commission voted to purchase the property for $990,000 — a premium above the appraised value of $830,000. The deal closed shortly thereafter on January 28, 2015.

Former Booby Trap Up for Sale

As the double domed-shaped roofs were falling, Mayor Kenneth Bradley erected a For Sale sign and the property went on the market for $1 Million.

Recently known as Club Rio, the former Booby Trap has gone the way of other local watering holes such as Tom & Jerry’s and the Red Fox at the Mt. Vernon Inn.  This is part of a larger effort by the City to “clean up” the Lee Road gateway into Winter Park.

In a Media Alert, the stated rationale for purchasing this property was to “eliminate significant . . . police/criminal activity, eliminate repeated code violations . . . and improve one of the city’s main gateways.”

Source of Drug, Criminal Activity

As the former den of iniquity came down, Mayor Kenneth Bradley noted that while there might be some nostalgia for what he called an “historic landmark,” the City bought the building “because it’s been a source of tremendous crime in our city and drug activity.”

Bradley said the City has already received expressions of interest in the property and that its commercial zoning would make it a good site for an office or restaurant. Bradley said the City was getting rid of an “eyesore” and was making an important investment that will improve the area. The properties immediately east of the Booby Trap, at 2540 Lee Road and 2566 Lee Road, are owned by Bradley’s employer, Florida Hospital.

“Off the Record,” a Few Neighbors Will Miss It

Mike Gottlieb, a neighbor who rode his bike to witness the demolition, remarked that this was a sad day for him. “Now I won’t be able to tell people how to find my house,” he said.

Another bystander, Winter Park resident Hilary Blessler, objected to the cost paid by the city, noting that money might be better used for trees or schools. Another bystander, who requested his name be withheld, said, “This will improve our neighborhood and raise our property values but,” he said, referring to the old club, “off the record, it was a hell of a lot of fun.”





Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen when you are viewing the website. Or click this button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at

WP Voice Hosts Candidate Forum

Mark the Date: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 10

WP Voice Hosts Candidate Forum


Winter Park is in the enviable position of having four qualified, capable candidates for Mayor and Commissioner. The Winter Park Voice will host a candidate forum at the University Club of Winter Park on February 10, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The forum will include all four candidates and will be moderated by Michele Levy from The Orange County League of Women Voters. 

WHO:              Mayoral Candidates Steven Leary and Cynthia Mackinnon

                        Commission Candidates Gary Brewer and Greg Seidel

WHAT:           Forum for Winter Park mayor and commission candidates


WHERE:         The University Club of Winter Park

                        841 North Park Ave.

                        Winter Park, FL 32789



WHEN:           Tuesday, February 10, 2015

                        Doors Open at 5:10 p.m.

                        Program begins promptly at 5:30 p.m. until 6:45 p.m.

 What’s the Program?

The program will consist of three questions, each concerning a different issue pertaining specifically to Winter Park, posed by the moderator. Each candidate will have the opportunity to answer the question and then to respond to answers from the other candidates.

How can You Ask Questions?

While no questions will be taken from the audience during the forum, you may submit your questions on line. Either click the “Read and Input Commentsbutton on this page and post your question there, or click on the Facebook button at the upper right of this page, go to the Winter Park Voice Facebook Group, and post your question there.

All questions will be gathered by the editorial staff no later than

5:00 p.m. Sunday, February 8. The moderator will ask as many representative questions from those collected online as time will allow.

Mark Your Calendar

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet your candidates and hear their views on major issues that affect all of us who have the good fortune to live in Winter Park. 

Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen when you are viewing the website. Or click this button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at

Meet the Candidates

Click on Links to See Full Bios and Platforms

Meet the Candidates

Steven Leary for Mayor

Steve Leary, Vice President of Leary Management Group, Inc., joined the firm in 2004 when he moved Winter Park. He was elected to the Winter Park City Commission in 2011 and was appointed Vice-Mayor by Mayor Kenneth Bradley. Leary has resigned his post as Commissioner in order to run for Mayor, but will finish out his current term on the Commission.   

To read more about Leary and his platform, Click Here.

Cynthia Mackinnon for Mayor

Retired Judge Cynthia Mackinnon was educated at Edgewater High School. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Emory University, where she met her husband Alex. She and Alex have lived in Winter Park for more than 40 years. They have two sons and six grandchildren. 

To read more about Mackinnon and her platform, Click Here.

Gary Brewer for Commission

In 1982, Brewer was elected to the Winter Park City Commission, where he served until 1993, when he was elected Mayor of Winter Park. His list of services to the community is a long one and includes being President of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of United Way of Winter Park, Chairman of Trustees and Board of Deacons at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park.

To read more about Brewer and his platform, Click Here.


Gregory Seidel for Commission

Greg Seidel, Vice President and Chief Engineer at The Balmoral Group, has lived in Winter Park since 1998. A Florida native, Greg grew up in Altamonte Springs and attended Lake Mary High School. He earned both his bachelor’s and his master’s degrees in engineering from Lehigh University. Seidel’s engineering focus is on roadway design and stormwater management. He served on the Winter Park Utility Advisory from 2008 to 2014 and was chairman from 2010 to 2014.

To read more about Seidel and his platform,Click Here.


Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen when you are viewing the website. Or click this button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at

Join the WP Voice Facebook Group

Public Group for Winter Park Readers

Join the WP Voice Facebook Group

The Winter Park Voice joins the world of facebook with the introduction of the new  group.


 The page is now live, so you can join it with your facebook account to read and make posts.

This is a public group with minimal moderation.  We ask that people be respectful of one another when expressing their points of view. Many of you will express opinions that other readers find controversial, but we do not plan to censor anything except personal attacks, personal advertising and inappropriate language.

Write about the 2015 election or policies that affect those of us who live and work in Winter Park.  Mention the latest Voice news story or add your own subject, as long as it fits within the mission of group – that is, Winter Park.

If you are new to facebook, write me at and someone will contact you with pointers on how to create an account.  If you already have a facebook account, just click the link above. Select JOIN and you will be added shortly.

Look for Voice news stories to be posted to the group. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Four Candidates = No Primary

Shambeck Withdraws from Commission Race

Four Candidates = No Primary

After some to-ing and fro-ing, Winter Park has finally settled into the 2015 election cycle. The period during which candidates could qualify to run ended yesterday at noon. City Communications Director Clarissa Howard confirmed that two candidates, Steven Leary and Cynthia Mackinnon, will oppose each other in the race for mayor. Two candidates, Greg Seidel and Gary Brewer, will run for Commission Seat #1, which is being vacated by Leary.

Shambeck Drops Out

The third candidate for commission, Willow Shambeck, withdrew from the race and threw her support behind Gary Brewer. She also endorsed Steve Leary for mayor.

Shambeck, President and Broker of Cursor Realty Commercial, stated, “. . .I have decided it is better to withdraw my candidacy for Winter Park City Commissioner. With the addition of a third candidate, the race will require nearly 100% of my time and resources to run a February Primary Election and a March General Election . . . which I unfortunately cannot afford to dedicate at this stage in my business.”

General Election – March 10

The fact that there will be no primary election significantly simplifies the election schedule shown in the chart below.


Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

The Voice will feature a special Election 2015 section. To see candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published about Winter Park’s very own annual reality show, click on the “Election 2015” button in the upper right portion of your screen. 

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at

Kenneth F. Murrah

January 19, 1933 – December 5, 2014

Kenneth F. Murrah


Leadership and service marked a life of accomplishment for Kenneth F. Murrah, who succumbed to prostate cancer on December 5, 2014.

Kenneth was the quintessential Southern gentleman, with a distinctive accent formed during his youth in Chipley (now Pine Mountain), Georgia. Kenneth moved to Winter Park in 1944. He expressed his affection for this town through service on the City Commission and the Parks and Recreation Board and by his many personal contributions.

City Historian

His Winter Park history presentations before various community organizations earned him the de facto title of City Historian. He loved learning about the people who had made a difference in this town and, in the process, Kenneth became one of them.

Valued Education

Kenneth appreciated his fine education and generously supported the institutions that provided it. Valedictorian of the Winter Park High School class of 1951, he was one of the founders of the school’s Foundation. In 1998 he initiated an annual celebration at the Winter Park Public Library honoring each year’s valedictorians and their families. He endowed a fund to continue the tradition.

“Mr. Emory”

In gratitude for the scholarships that made it possible for him to graduate from both the College and Law School at Emory University, he contributed funds each year that enabled other young people to enjoy that opportunity. His volunteer service to Emory was recognized both with the law school’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and the J. Pollard Turman Award for exceptional alumni service.  Kenneth’s undergraduate leadership positions included President of his fraternity and Student Body President.

Loyal ATO

His Alpha Tau Omega fraternity provided a lifetime of friendships. He showed his appreciation by endowing college scholarships and LeaderShape training for ATOs, both at Emory and at Florida chapters. He assisted in founding the University of Central Florida ATO chapter and served on the board of the ATO National Foundation.

Distinguished Attorney

Kenneth established his law practice in Winter Park in 1963, focusing on estates and trusts. With support from longtime partners Patrick Doyle and Bruce Wigle, and from devoted staff, Kenneth helped people plan secure futures for themselves. The firm provided broad services to many widows and widowers who had no families to help them. In July 2014, Kenneth recruited a talented young partner, David Torre, to help carry on the firm’s work. Kenneth loved his work and could never imagine retirement. He worked on behalf of others to the end of his life.

Lifelong Methodist

Kenneth supported the First United Methodist Church of Winter Park and served on the Board of Trustees. As managing trustee of the Susan H. Marcy Trust, he initiated a number of innovative grants to strengthen the church. For over 35 years, he also participated on the district New Church Development Board.

Civic Leader

A passion for fairness and a devotion to community put Kenneth at the forefront of many civic efforts. The list of task forces on which Kenneth served is a long one. Among the most important were the Bi-Racial Commission in the early 1960s — predating the 1964 Civil Rights Act — Central Park, City Charter, and Commuter Rail. He also helped raise funds to furnish the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center, named in honor of his late wife. He garnered funds to develop Shady Park, promoted a bond referendum to purchase the city golf course, and supported a referendum to build the new public safety building.

He served on the boards of Hospice of Central Florida, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, the Central Florida Foundation, the Holocaust Center, Meals on Wheels, the Gardens at DePugh, and the Winter Park Advisory Committee to the Central Florida Foundation.

Kenneth and Rachel, his wife from 1957 until her death in 2000, and his second wife, Ann Hicks, all demonstrated their appreciation for the Winter Park Public Library through  service on its board and support of its fundraisers. Honoring Rachels love of reading, Kenneth established a memorial endowment to purchase works of fiction.

Cultural Leader

Arts and other cultural organizations were a priority for Kenneth. He generously supported the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra (OPO) and Rollins’ Cornell Fine Arts Museum. He was honored to receive the OPO’s John O. Blackburn Distinguished Service Award in 2013. Kenneth was the kind of board member most valued by non-profits.  He attracted new friends and funds. He gave generously of time, talent, and resources. He prepared diligently for meetings and posed important — if sometimes challenging — questions.

Lifelong Democrat

Kenneth’s connection with the Democratic party dates back to his childhood, when President Roosevelt made frequent visits to nearby Warm Springs, where Kenneth saw him driving his car equipped with hand controls. As an adult Kenneth supported candidates who worked for public education and women’s rights. He was appointed to the Florida Elections Commission by Governor Lawton Chiles. Locally, he served as the treasurer for three candidates for the City Commission.

Devoted Family Man

One key to Kenneth’s ability to give back to his community was the support of his family. For 43 years he was the loving husband of Rachel, mother of his sons Ken and Bert (d. 1990). Since 2002 Ann Hicks has been his fortunate partner not only in civic affairs, but also in world travel. Kenneth especially loved time with Ken Jr.’s family in Ponte Vedra, watching Jack, Kenny, and MacLain grow up, and, with Ann, providing sideline support for Jack’s baseball, football, and lacrosse games.

Memorial Service January 4, 2015

A celebration of Kenneth’s life will take place at the First United Methodist Church of Winter Park on January 4, 2015, at 4:00 p.m., preceded by music from members of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at 3:30, and followed by a reception in the Family Life Center. Friends are encouraged to follow his example of generosity by making a contribution to the OPO Plaza renovation fund, the Winter Park Library new building fund, the Cornell Museum exhibits fund, or your preferred non-profit organization.



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News Alert--Bowling Alley Slides Into Gutter on a 3-3 Split

News Alert–Bowling Alley Slides Into Gutter on a 3-3 Split

The Voice reported on September 19 that the Community  Redevelopment Advisory Board and the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board narrowly approved the purchase of the Fairbanks Avenue Bowling Alley at 1111 Fairbanks Avenue. On September 22, however, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) voted down the $3,250,000  purchase of the 1.6 acre property on a 3-3 split.


Bradley, Leary, McMacken on Losing Side


The CRA Advisory Board is made up of citizens serving in an advisory capacity only. The Community Redevelopment Agency, which is comprised of the mayor and four commissioners, plus a representative from Orange County, Frank DeToma, is the decision-making body.


Knight: “The price is the price.”

Bowlingv2 Bradley

City Manager Randy Knight kicked off the discussion by reporting that he had

spoken with the seller, Scott Fish of UP Developments, and that Fish was

unwilling to take less than the $3.25 Million asking price. “So,” said Knight, “the price is the price.”

But, What’s the Value? 

Whatever the price, the value is still unclear. City staff has, to date, not had the land appraised nor are they able to answer questions about what other, similar pieces of property are available.

McMacken: “We’re adding a substantial piece to a great park.”

Arguing in favor of the acquisition, Commissioner Tom McMacken said he thought, long term, this would be “money well spent.”

Bradley later stated, “This is a property that’s never been on the market . . . never, ever been on the market.”

Cooper: “Don’t Talk to me about an asphalt park.” 

Bowlingv2 Cooper

“The struggle I’m having,” said Cooper, “is that staff’s plan for this – and generally those plans come to fruition – is for this to be an asphalt parking lot . . . So that’s not park. Don’t talk to me about an asphalt park.”


For Commissioner Sprinkel, the deal didn’t pass the sniff test. She said that while the bowling alley acquisition deal may have been familiar to some on the dais, “It just dropped into my lap.”  She said she felt the commission had not spent sufficient time discussing the acquisition or exploring the different possibilities that might be available to them. “I just feel like it’s too fast,” she said, “it’s not considering everything, and it just doesn’t feel right.”

How Are We Going to Pay for This?

Bowlingv2 Sprinkel

One issue that arose repeatedly was the funding source. The acquisition of the property had first come up during the budget discussion at the August 25 commission meeting.


The city proposed to use $1,650,000 from CRA reserves, $975,000 from the Parks Acquisition Funds and $625,000 from the sale of land to the medical practice of Dr. Ivan Castro. The CRA reserves, however, had only $1,400,000 — not $1,650,000. Where to find $250,000?


$245,000 Mysteriously Materializes

Expenditures for CRA Projects and Community Initiatives in the CRA budget proposed on August 25 totaled $1,165,148. Without a murmur, by September 22, total CRA expenditures had fallen to $920,648.


These are the projects that took the hit.   

CRA Project or 

Community Initiative

8/25 Proposed


9/22 Proposed


Heritage Center Operation



Housing Rehab Assistance



Business Façade Matching PRG



West Meadow Ice Rink



W. Morse Blvd. Streetscape



Signs and Wayfinding




The money cut from these projects totals $245,000 – just about enough to make up the shortfall needed to purchase the bowling alley.


Bowlingv2 WilliamsCitizens Object to Lack of Transparency

As the mayor opened the floor for public comment, Larry Williams of Eucalyptus Properties approached the podium. First he pointed out that the mayor had been mistaken when he stated that the bowling alley property had never been on the market. “Indeed, it has been on the market,” said Williams, who explained that he himself had optioned the property six years ago, but decided not to buy it because it would be difficult to develop.

Williams went on to address the City Manager: “What you did, Randy, was not right,” he said. “This is a lot of money. You don’t negotiate this kind of deal without putting it out on the table. . . .There’s one thing that’s been absent in this conversation far too much, and that’s the price.”

Williams pointed out that not only is the city paying a premium for land that has limited utility, but also, the city staff at no time requested a property appraisal or verification from Fish of $300,000 in carrying costs he was asking from the city.

Woody Woodall: “This is Not a Park.”

Woody Woodall, who currently sits on the CRA Advisory Board and who voted against the acquisition, insisted, “This is a lousy deal.” He objected to depleting CRA reserves. If the money is there, he said, “I’d rather we spend it on something that will be a positive addition to our parks.”

Will the Commission Seek Last-Minute Appraisal?

As the Commission prepared to vote, Commissioner Cooper proposed to table the matter until the city could get an appraisal on the property, but that amendment failed.

The Board then voted for an amendment to seek a property appraisal. Commissioner Sprinkel questioned the value of such an appraisal. “What happens if the appraisal comes back at less than what the price is?” she wanted to know. When Bradley asked if she wanted to put that forward in the form of an amendment, Sprinkel replied, “I’m not going to vote for it anyway, so it doesn’t make any difference to me.”

When Bradley sought to reassure Sprinkel that the property was “sure to appraise,” especially since there is a building on it of “who knows how many square feet,” Sprinkel replied, “No one knows. That’s the whole problem – we don’t know any of this.”

Bowling Alley Purchase Fails

With that, the clerk read the role. Leary, Bradley and McMacken voted for the purchase.  Sprinkel, Cooper and DeToma voted against.

The 3 – 3 vote was not enough. The motion failed. 


Will City Strike a Fair Deal to Buy Bowling Alley?

Some Say It’s a High Price to Pay

Will City Strike a Fair Deal to Buy Bowling Alley?

September 18, 2014 – High Noon. City Manager Randy Knight called a joint meeting of the Community Redevelopment (CRA) Advisory Board and the Parks & Recreation Board to discuss the purchase of the Fairbanks Avenue Bowling Alley at 1111 W. Fairbanks Ave. The two boards met at the Winter Park Country Club golf club house.
Scott Fish, of UP Developments, LLC, developer of the new Whole Foods, has contracted with Rollins College to purchase the bowling alley for $2,950,000. Fish is willing to assign his contract with Rollins to the city, so the city can buy the bowling alley property to extend Martin Luther King, Jr., Park.

City Rushes to Meet Deadline

The city will waste no time waiting until after the visioning process to seize the opportunity. The contract between UP Developments and Rollins is scheduled to close October 27, creating urgency among city staff to reach a decision. The matter will go before the CRA Board at 2:30 Monday, September 22, and will be on the agenda of the commission meeting which immediately follows.

Rollins Bought Property in 2013

Rollins purchased the bowling alley property in the late spring of 2013, when it looked like Harper-Shepherd Field would become a Minor League baseball stadium. Rollins needed space for other teams that use Harper-Shepherd. Being next to Martin Luther King, Jr., Park, the bowling alley property was an ideal location for Rollins to expand their playing fields.
When it became clear that baseball would not be coming to Winter Park, however, Rollins no longer needed expansion room and sought to sell the property. UP Developments, LLC,, stepped in and contracted to buy the property from Rollins.
Apparently, the city has been interested in the bowling alley property for some time, with an eye to expanding MLK Park and mitigating some of the traffic problems on Fairbanks. When they approached Scott Fish about it, Fish agreed to assign his contract with Rollins to the city, so that the city can buy the property from Rollins and UP Developments will withdraw from the transaction.

Purchase Will Expand MLK Park, Add Parking

City purchase of this property would expand MLK Park by approximately 1.6 acres, allowing for a non-regulation sized playing field. It would also create an additional 100 parking spaces for the park and for business establishments along Fairbanks and 17-92. Preliminary plans also call for an extended right-hand turn lane along west-bound Fairbanks at the intersection with 17-92.

Cost to City — $3.25 Million

The city proposes to pay for the property with funds from several different sources. They include:

CRA contribution from fund reserved for debt service $1,650,000
Parks Acquisition funds 975,000
Sale of city land at 300 Pennsylvania Ave. 625,000

UP Development’s contract with Rollins is for $2,950,000. According to Winter Park Communications Director Clarissa Howard, the additional $300,000 the city is willing to pay would compensate Scott Fish for “real estate fees and site plan design fees associated with the property.”

“Is this a fair price?”

CRA Advisory Board member Daniel Butts asked City Manager Knight if he thought this was a fair price for the property. Knight replied, “It’s higher than market value,” but added that there has been no appraisal on the property.
Butts then wanted to know how much the city would lose in tax revenues. He pointed out that this expenditure would “wipe out the rainy-day fund” for CRA debt service. The debt he was referring to is on the Community Center in the Hannibal Square neighborhood. The “rainy day” fund would cover this debt service should property values fall again as they did in 2010-2011.

Land Acquisition Only the Beginning

Parks & Recreation Advisory Board member Janet Atkins pointed out that acquisition of the land was only the beginning, and that considerable additional funds would be required to demolish the building and to redevelop the property. It is also unclear who would pay for widening Fairbanks to create the right turn lane onto 17-92. She said, however, that “this is a great first step toward expanding this park.”

Parks & Rec Votes to Approve the Purchase

Parks & Recreation Director John Holland stated the land purchase would help meet the goals of the Parks & Rec Department in three ways. First, it would add park land, consistent with the Comprehensive Plan mandate to provide one acre of green space per 10,000 residents. “We are right on the line of meeting that level of service,” said Holland. He pointed out that there is a need for more multi-purpose playing fields. And, third, there is a current parking shortage at MLK Park.

CRA Votes Approval — with Strings Attached

The CRA Advisory Board, which voted separately, required more discussion. Daniel Butts wanted to know if the city had any other funding source. Noting that the city has reserves of $27 Million, Butts suggested the city contribute at least half of the purchase price to avoid depleting CRA contingency funds. He also urged Randy Knight and Planning Director Dori Stone to go to Scott Fish and to Rollins to re-negotiate the sale and come back with a better price. The CRA then voted three to two to approve as amended.
The measure is scheduled to go before the CRA at 2:30 Monday, September 22, and then to the Commission, which meets at 3:30 immediately following the CRA.

Comp Plan Amendment Fails; City Takes Up FY 2015 Budget

Considers Funding Regional Arts Center

Comp Plan Amendment Fails; City Takes Up FY 2015 Budget

In an abrupt turnaround, the city commission acquiesced to city staff recommendations and citizen sentiment and voted unanimously to quash the proposed amendment to the Winter Park Comp Plan. The proposed change would have increased density of development on four-lane roads and eliminated parking garages from the calculation of allowable building size.

A standing-room-only crowd, most of them carrying the “indoor” version of the now familiar No Density signs, filled the chambers on the evening of August 25. As the proposed amendment came up for discussion, City Planning Director Dori Stone took the podium to articulate staff’s recommendation regarding the amendment. She stated, “Staff is recommending that we not adopt [the amendment] until we go through the visioning process.”

Commissioner Carolyn Cooper made a motion Not to Adopt; Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel seconded, and the motion Not to Adopt passed unanimously.

Commission Gets Down to the Nitty-Gritty Business of the City

After a break, the chambers cleared of yellow signs and the commission got down to the first episode of the city’s yearly reality show – The Budget. August 25 was the first of three commission meetings that will see discussions and, ultimately, finalization of the FY 2015 city budget.

There is good news in this budget – the millage rate is set to remain the same, as it has for the past seven years. It allocates substantial additional funds for tree purchases. And the city reserves are holding steady at about 30 percent.

New Funding Mechanism for Organizational Support

This year’s proposal includes a mechanism for funding organizational support, based on a quarter point revenue contribution from each of the three major funds: General Fund, Electric, and Water & Wastewater. Current estimates put the funding pool at approximately $294,500 – nearly double what has been provided in the past. The current budget proposal, however, allocates $257,000 for organizational support.

To date, the city has received requests from six organizations. The chart below shows the amount each organization requested and the amount the city proposes to allocate.


Funding Request

Proposed Allocation

United Arts



WP Day Nursery



Mead Gardens



WP Historical Association



WP Playhouse



Performing Arts Center*

$100k for 10 years

$100k for 10 years

DPAC Scores Big

The Performing Arts Center referred to here is the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center (DPAC) in Orlando. Winter Park proposes to contribute $100,000 a year over the next 10 years, totaling $1 Million. This year’s $100,000 contribution represents approximately 39 percent of the total allocation for organizational support.

According to DPAC Communications Director Scott Bowman, the budget for DPAC now stands at $513 Million. Two-thirds of this money will come from public funds and a third from private donors. This regional facility will boast a 2,700-seat Broadway-type theater, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater and a 300-seat venue for smaller performances.

Winter Park is the only city so far to have offered a pledge of municipal funds to DPAC.

Will WP Kids & Orgs Play 2nd Fiddle to DPAC?

Since 25 percent of Winter Parkers’ taxes go to Orange County, according to Winter Park Communications Director Clarissa Howard, Winter Park’s $100,000-a-year organizational support contribution will not be the only Winter Park dollars DPAC will receive.

It is difficult to imagine what impact Winter Park’s $100,000-dollars-a-year will have on a $513 Million project. It is easier to envision the effect that an additional $100,000 a year over the next 10 years might have if it were spread among local organizations such as the Winter Park Day Nursery or the Winter Park Playhouse.

Future Commissions Hands Are Not Tied

Communications Director Clarissa Howard did confirm in an email to the Voice, “Although commission can plan for a 10-year, $100,000 funding to DPAC, they cannot commit future commissions to this funding amount. Every commission has the ability to approve the levels of funding they feel are needed at that time.”