|Am I the only resident in Winter Park who still believes we should be a City of Homes? A city that cares for its residents first before big business and developers?
This was the vision of those who founded Winter Park and the reason my family settled here in 1961. We decided to make Winter Park our home because of the ambiance of this city – the eclectic architecture, the lakes, the green spaces, the tree canopy and the warmth of the people we met who shared our values.
Winter Park is changing – and faster than most people realize. It is becoming an urban, commercial city, not a City of Homes.
There is this constant urgency from our elected officials and those they have appointed to our Boards, to diversify our tax base. Our taxes are lower than some cities near us.
They say the portion paid by our residential taxes is too great but as a City of Homes, that is what should pay our taxes. If City Hall focuses on its homeowners, instead of commercial interests, homeowners like myself will be willing to pay the taxes that maintain our quality of life.
We say we are a City of Culture and Heritage but our heritage is disappearing and without a sense of history, we will be nothing.
High-Density development is increasing fast in Winter Park. This will hurt our quality of life, as traffic becomes more and more unbearable. In his interview with the Voice, Peter Gottfried clearly illustrated one downside of High-Density development when he admitted that “one of the biggest issues is traffic…Lakemont is now bumper to bumper.” Mr. Gottfried has seen for himself how part of our city’s charm is vanishing, noting that when he and his wife “drive down Park Avenue in the evening…it usually turns into a white knuckle drive – it’s not a pleasant experience anymore.”
Our city is changing. We now face a threat that our park land will be decreased and our city services reduced.
Change comes; change can be good but only if it enhances what we already have. Our home values will decline if we lose what we have always loved and treasured about Winter Park.
My hope is that there are enough people in Winter Park who are aware of what is happening and who will care enough to act before it is too late.