Dyer sees Dis­ney-sized im­por­tance in cam­pus

Mayor touts Cre­ative Vil­lage open­ing in his ‘state of down­town’ speech

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Ryan Gille­spie

In his an­nual “state of down­town” speech, Or­lando Mayor Buddy Dyer on Thurs­day com­pared the up­com­ing open­ing of the UCF and Va­len­cia Col­lege cam­pus down­town to the open­ing of Walt Dis­ney World nearly five decades ago.

The com­par­i­son is of­ten made for large projects in Cen­tral Florida, but Dyer used his an­nual speech — also a fundraiser for the Down­town Or­lando Part­ner­ship — to ar­gue that this time it’s not an ex­ag­ger­a­tion.

“In the case of the Cre­ative Vil­lage…it’s that big of a deal,” Dyer said to a crowd of sev­eral hun­dred of busi­ness and non­profit lead­ers, as well as elected of­fi­cials.

The ris­ing cam­pus has been un­der con­struc­tion since last year and is ex­pected to bring about 8,000 stu­dents to down­town begin­ning in Au­gust.

It’s a joint ven­ture with cour­ses and pro­grams from both UCF and Va­len­cia Col­lege, in­clud­ing un­der­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate de­gree pro­grams in com­mu­ni­ca­tions, health ser­vices ad­min­is­tra­tion, le­gal stud­ies and ur­ban and re­gional plan­ning.

But with the Cre­ative Vil­lage’s con­struc­tion near Liv­ingston and Amelia streets, Dyer said the cam­pus will be a bea­con for chil­dren and res­i­dents in Par­ramore, Or­lando’s poor­est neigh­bor­hood.

“From its cur­ricu­lum to the way it’s tied into Par­ramore, this is an ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity de­signed to open doors and elim­i­nate bar­ri­ers to op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one,” Dyer said.

He said the cam­pus is de­signed both for stu­dents and res­i­dents who want new op­por­tu­ni­ties and skills train­ing for in-de­mand jobs. It also will bring new en­ergy down­town, as well as cus­tomers to lo­cal busi­nesses in Par­ramore and down­town, Dyer said.

The mayor also an­nounced a new cam­paign that al­lows vis­i­tors and res­i­dents to text “Give Smart” to 85511 to do­nate to non­prof­its that sup­port the re­gion’s hous­ing-first ini­tia­tive. Of­fi­cials hope giv­ing money there, as op­posed to panhandlers, will “cre­ate real, last­ing change in the lives of our home­less neigh­bors.”

Dur­ing the speech, Dyer took a break to show a video

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