Black Lives Matter in Winter Park

Black Lives Matter in Winter Park

Black Lives Matter in Winter Park

Peaceful Demonstration in Central Park

by Anne Mooney / June 11, 2020

It’s been nearly a week since demonstrators gathered peacefully on June 5 in Central Park to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to mourn the deaths of George Floyd and others at the hands of law enforcement officers.

A crowd of roughly 300 baked in Florida humidity and 90-degree heat. Young and old, black, brown and white, they took a knee to stand for the future they want to see.

Watchful Winter Park police officers kept a respectful distance.

After listening to speakers, several of whom were from Winter Park’s African American community, the group joined in prayer. The youthful organizer of the gathering, Adrian Bouchout, asked the crowd to remain peaceful as they turned to march out of Central Park and down Park Avenue.

The crowd marched down to Fairbanks and back up through the Hannibal Square neighborhood, finally ending up at the Public Safety Building, where protesters and police thanked one another for a peaceful and successful event.

Present at the rally were Commissioners Marty Sullivan, Sheila DeCiccio and Todd Weaver. Later in the week, Sullivan and DeCiccio sent messages to constituents.

DeCiccio Calls for Support for Police

“I believe it’s essential for our Police Department to have the support it needs,” wrote DeCiccio. She spoke with Police Chief Michael Deal, who confirmed that the Police Department adheres strictly to the following policies.

  • No chokeholds or strangleholds.
  • De-escalation is required, and officers have received special training.
  • Officers must issue a warning before firing a weapon.
  • Officers must exhaust all other means before shooting.
  • Officers have a duty to intervene when they see a breach of procedure, especially one involving excessive force.
  • Shooting at moving vehicles is prohibited.
  • All officers are required to employ the “use of force continuum.”
  • Comprehensive reporting of all incidents is required.

Chief Deal stated the WPPD has zero tolerance toward police brutality.

The body cameras that were approved last year by the city commission arrived just as the COVID19 crisis hit, so the department is still in the process of training officers on their use. Deal said, “Everyone is looking forward to wearing their cameras.”

Sullivan Calls on Winter Park to Support All of Its Citizens

In his message to constituents, Commissioner Marty Sullivan wrote, “We have outlawed government mistreatment of minorities, but we have yet to exterminate racism.”

He called on the city to hold a referendum on single-member districts, to provide participation from all neighborhoods in city government, to reflect citizen desires with Advisory Board appointments and Commission decisions and to provide infrastructure support for all neighborhoods.

“Peaceful gatherings across the country show that we still care,” wrote Sullivan, “we still love our fellow citizens, and we ask, rather demand, that entrenched racism be defeated. Most Americans desire this, and I believe that continuing nonviolent action will bring about this needed change.”

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

City Hosts Special Mother’s Day Weekend

by Anne Mooney / May 6, 2020

May 8 – 10, the City is hosting a special Mother’s Day weekend of socially-distanced restaurant dining and limited retail therapy.

Streets Closed for Distance Dining and Shopping-Withdrawal Relief

To facilitate safe outdoor dining, portions of Park Ave., Morse Blvd. and New England Ave. will be closed to vehicular traffic from 4:00 pm Friday, May 8, to 11:00 pm Sunday, May 10.

Park Ave. from Swoope to Fairbanks

New England Ave. between Pennsylvania and Virginia Ave.

Morse Blvd. between Center St. and New York Ave.

 

All Shops & Restaurants May Participate

Outdoor shopping and dining is not limited to Park Ave. and Hannibal Square, however. Any retail store or restaurant within the City limits may apply for a permit from the City to extend their business outside. The permit is good only through the weekend.

Restaurants and shops must maintain the 6-foot required distance between patrons outside and limit inside occupancy to 25 percent of capacity.

Mini-Sidewalk Sales

Retail shops must also adhere to the 25-percent-capacity rule, but they may also have a single merchandise rack or table on the sidewalk outside the shop.

Each business will bear the responsibility of ensuring its customers meet social distancing requirements at all times. “As we continue to take methodical steps to reopen the City following the State guidelines, we are hosting this special weekend to help our business community and to give the public a chance to support our local businesses and celebrate Mother’s Day,” said Assistant City Manager Michelle Neuner.

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You Must Pre-Register for Virtual Commission Meeting Tomorrow at 5:00

You Must Pre-Register for Virtual Commission Meeting Tomorrow at 5:00

Registration is Open Now

by Anne Mooney / March 29, 2020

The virtual dais at the Live Virtual Commission meeting at 5:00 pm tomorrow night, Monday, March 30, will once again feature five live Commissioners. Newly elected Commissioners Marty Sullivan and Sheila DeCiccio will now be sitting in Seats #1 and #2 respectively.

Our gratitude for their service goes to former Commissioners Greg Seidel and Sarah Sprinkel, who can now watch from the comfort of their homes.

Registration for the Meeting is Open Now

Go to https://cityofwinterpark.org/government/live-video-broadcasts and click on “Live Virtual Meeting” in the yellow banner. That will take you to the registration page.

Public Comment Will Be Taken

As this is a regular meeting of the Commission, public comment will be taken during the meeting. There are three ways for citizens to comment – by email, by submitting a comment form or by phone.

Email — You may comment in advance of the meeting by emailing mayorandcommissioners@cityofwinterpark.org. Emailed comments will become part of the record but will not be read aloud.

Public Comment Form — If you would like for your comments to be read during the meeting, submit the Public Comment Form found at <cityofwinterpark.org/public-comment> The form will be accessible at 5:00 Monday as the meeting begins.

Phone – If you are unable to submit online comments, the City will activate the public comment phone line at 5:00 pm Monday – 407-599-3410. Calls will be answered by City staff, and your verbal comments will be entered into the online system on your behalf. Phoned-in comments will be read during the meeting as part of the official record.

All comments will be monitored in accordance with City standards of decorum.

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WP Goes Virtual

WP Goes Virtual

Dry Run for Special Commission Meeting Monday, March 30

by Anne Mooney / March 27, 2020

Yesterday, March 26, from 5:00 to 6:30 pm, the Winter Park City Commission held its first Virtual Meeting – and probably the first meeting ever attended by all 7 past and present commissioners. And even with 7 Commissioners present, the meeting began and ended right on schedule.

Work Session on City Response to Coronavirus Lockdown

The meeting was a live-streamed Work Session on the City’s response to the coronavirus situation. Participating from home but visible and audible on computer screens across the City were Mayor Steve Leary, Commissioners Carolyn Cooper and Todd Weaver, soon-to-be-former-Commissioners Sarah Sprinkel and Greg Seidel, Commissioners-elect Sheila DeCiccio and Marty Sullivan and City Manager Randy Knight with key city staff.

Exec Order from Governor

The meeting was made possible by an Executive Order from Governor Ron DeSantis suspending the Florida statute that required a quorum to be present in person at a specific place. The Executive Order allows local governments to utilize media technology to hold meetings.

As with any Commission Work Session, there were no Commission votes or public comment.

Dry Run for Monday’s Commission Meeting

Yesterday’s Work Session was a dry run for a Special Commission Meeting Monday, March 30 at 5:00 pm. At that meeting, the Commission will vote and take public comment. If you missed last night’s meeting, you can tune in Monday at <cityofwinterpark.org/cclive>

Register in Advance to Participate

In order to participate, you must register in advance. Space is limited, so do not delay. Go to <cityofwinterpark.org> and click on Access Virtual Commission Meeting Live Video Broadcast & Instructions. You will find all the information you need to register and participate.

Public Comment Will Be Taken Monday

Public comment will be taken at the 5:00 pm hour, as usual. You can comment in advance of the meeting by emailing mayorandcommissioners@cityofwinterpark.org  Emailed comments will become part of the record, but will not be read aloud. You can also comment by phone, and your comment will be recorded and will be audible on the live stream. The public comment line, which will be activated Monday at 5:00 pm, is 407-599-3410. Live comments will be monitored in accordance with City standards of decorum.

Meanwhile, although City Hall is closed to the public, the City itself is Open for Business.

Police and Fire-Rescue Departments are at full staffing. The Police Department reports a decline in criminal activity and calls for service, due to fewer people being on the streets.

Fire Chief Dan Hagedorn reported that, as of yesterday, there were 2,235 reported COVID19 cases in Florida, with one fatality. Two cases have been reported in Winter Park – one is a resident and one a non-resident. Emergency crews who transported these patients to the hospital are on 14-day quarantine as a precaution, but are showing no symptoms.

Parks & Recreation Director Jason Seeley reported that the March 13 order of a 10-person-group limit marked the drawdown of City recreational programs. Playgrounds are now closed, but open spaces such as Central Park and Mead Botanical Garden are open, with social distancing required. Monday’s Commission meeting will likely see decisions to close the Dinky Dock boat ramp and the Winter Park Golf Course. Citizens may enjoy continued lake access from their private docks.

Infrastructure departments such as the Electric Utility, Water & Waste Water, Code Enforcement and the Building Department are open and active.

City Budget

In his discussion of the budget, City Manager Randy Knight acknowledged that the City anticipates a drop in revenue, but said it is difficult to tell at this early stage how great or small that will be or how long it will last. Knight said he does not anticipate cutting essential services for residents. He plans to present the Commission with a revised budget for this Fiscal Year.

City Assistance to Residents & Businesses

Utility cutoffs for non-payment have been suspended, and staff is working on programs to assist residents and businesses with utility payment plans. City Staff will work with the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce to help local businesses apply for loans and other financial assistance. Restaurants are allowed to offer takeout and delivery services.

City staff is working to develop virtual programs for youth and seniors. The City is considering creating a micro-loan program for businesses in the CRA. And the City Manager is looking into acquiring Federal assistance available to state and local governments.

 

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Winter Park – Coronoavirus Update

Winter Park – Coronoavirus Update

by Anne Mooney / March 17, 2020

The City has issued a list of closings and cancellations effective immediately, as it continues to monitor the status of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease.

City Hall and Facilities Closed to the Public

Effective immediately, City Hall and City facilities are closed until further notice. City services and assistance will remain available by phone or email.

The Public Safety Building at 500 N. Virginia Ave., Fire Station #62 on Lakemont and Fire Station #64 on Howell Branch Rd. are closed to visitors, except for emergencies.

The Saturday Winter Park Farmers Market is suspended until further notice.

Recreational facility closures include the Community Center, Cady Way Pool, Showalter Stadium, the Winter Park Golf Course and the Azalea Lane Tennis Center. Public parks and playgrounds and greenspaces will remain open. Please practice social distancing protocol by keeping a space of at least six feet between you and others not in your household.

Events and Gatherings Cancelled

The March 23 City Commission meeting is cancelled. Future Commission meetings will be announced as they are scheduled.

City Advisory Board Meetings are cancelled until further notice.

All events and gatherings of more than ten people are cancelled or postponed until further notice.

Recreational programming and events for youth, adults and seniors are cancelled until further notice.

Public Safety Facilities and Services

Winter Park Fire & Rescue service will continue to provide fire and EMS services. Winter Park Police Department will operate normally with modified non-emergency responses. For more information, call 407-644-1313.

Utility Customers

Although utility statements and due dates remain on schedule, the City understands that some customers may experience unavoidable financial difficulty during this period and has suspended the disconnection for non-payment policy until further notice.

For billing questions, call 407-599-3220; for outage and service issues call 877-811-8700.

Restaurants and Bars

A recent Executive Order by Gov. Ron DeSantis requires all Florida bars and nightclubs to close for 30 days, effective today. Restaurants are required to remain below 50 percent occupancy. As this creates considerable hardship for City businesses, the City is working with the Chamber of Commerce to help. Go to the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce website to check out curbside food pickup and home delivery options from our local restaurants.

Building Permits & Services Online

Although City Hall is closed to the public, Building & Permitting Services will be reviewing plans submittals and issuing permits electronically at permits@cityofwinterpark.org  Inspectors will continue on a case-by-case basis. You can schedule inspections online at <Epay> or call 407-599-3350.

Stay Informed

Information regarding the spread of the coronavirus and the COVID19 disease changes daily, please remain informed using the following resources.

cdc.gov/COVID19

cityofwinterpark.org

Facebook.com/WinterParkEmergencyInfo

twitter.com/winterparkfla

OUTREACH – sign up for the City’s emergency notification system

nexdoor.com – sign up for your neighborhood information

winterparkvoice.com for the latest from the City.

 

Stay safe – and stop hoarding the toilet paper.

 

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Winter Park Responds to Coronavirus

Winter Park Responds to Coronavirus

March 13, 2020 / by Anne Mooney

The Good News

Tuesday, March 17, elections will take place as scheduled. The March 23 City Commission Meeting will take place as planned.

The Other News

All large city events, including the Sidewalk Arts Festival, have been cancelled. See <cityofwinterpark.org> for latest updates.

In addition, the following cancellations were announced by the City of Winter Park this afternoon.

  • City Advisory Board Meetings
  • Indoor youth and adult athletic leagues managed by the City
  • Childcare programs and Spring Break Camp held at City facilities
  • Senior programming at City facilities
  • Winter Park Famers Market through the end of March

Stay Informed

Here is a list of sites with emerging information as this situation develops.

cdc.gov/COVID19

cityofwinterpark.org

Facebook.com/winterparkfla

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