Category: Growing Gains & Pains

New Schools for Southwest

When children in MetroWest head back to school in August, one-half of the elementary-age students will attend a new school adjacent to their old one.

Orange County Public Schools is building a new elementary school next to the existing MetroWest Elementary School. Currently more than 1,600 youngsters attend MWES, twice its design capacity.

I-Drive to Undergo Changes

From Millenial-Friendly Developments to Business Changes

by Debra Wood


Changes are underway on International Drive, the tourist corridor in Southwest Orlando. On a positive note, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved the I-Drive 2040 Vision Plan zoning. But more disappointing was the closure of Artegon Marketplace, a little more than two years after its debut.

New Zoning for I-Drive

Aiming to develop a shared vision for the International Drive area, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs appointed a Steering Review Group of I-Drive stakeholders committed to keeping the corridor as a global tourism destination. The county commissioners accepted the vision plan in November 2015.

West Orange Country Club’s Membership Grows

A Little Gem in West Orange County

by Debra Wood


West Orange Country Club


West Orange Country Club boosts membership after completing upgrades.


More than a year after a group of golf enthusiasts purchased West Orange Country Club and upgraded the property, membership has grown significantly.

“It’s been good,” said Jim Karr, a managing partner of West Orange Country Club. “We’re encouraged that the club is going to make it.”

OCPS Intends to Build Relief School for Dr. Phillips & Freedom Highs

by Debra Wood


Tyrone Smith and Pam Gould share plans for a Dr. Phillips/Freedom relief high school.

After a contentious battle to locate a relief high school for West Orange High School near homes in the West Windermere Rural Settlement, Orange County Public Schools has taken a different approach with finding a site for a relief high school for Dr. Phillips and Freedom highs by selecting property with no adjacent homes.

“This is a good location for a school,” said Pam Gould, school board member, at a community meeting about proposed changes to the land-use plan to accommodate the school.

Apartments Planned for Turkey Lake Road

More Development in Dr. Phillips

by Debra Wood


Developers are planning to transform the former Yogi Bear Campground into Eden Springs Resort, a high-density apartment complex with commercial space, and have already obtained a land-use change to the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

Neighbors in Bay Vista Estates, Sand Lake Cove and other subdivisions have expressed concern on social media regarding the addition of a high-density project on the lakefront site, including where the children living in the apartments would attend school and the traffic the project would generate.

Phenomenal Growth in Horizon West

Decades-Old Vision Is Becoming a Reality

by Debra Wood


More than 20 years ago, a number of people in west Orange County had a vision for a planned development called Horizon West. Today, about 24 percent of the 23,000 acres are built out, and more than 20,000 people live in the community, with more growth under way.

“Horizon West is a unique community in Central Florida,” said County Commissioner Scott Boyd. “There are a lot of great opportunities. We want to make sure it’s a great community.”

Keene’s Pointe Resident Hopes to Build Mosque

Many Express Concern Over Land Use

by Debra Wood

A proposed mosque on a property backing onto Lake Mable has residents concerned about traffic, drainage, noise and that the land use is not compatible with the residential rural flavor of the area. But the applicant maintains the mosque will be a good neighbor.

“We live here and will not do anything to jeopardize the area,” said applicant Muhammad Awan, a Keenes Pointe resident. “We are your …

Windermere’s Historic Schoolhouse

Public School 75

by Debra Wood

Neglected for years, the newly restored 1887 Windermere Schoolhouse stands as testament to the fortitude of the community’s residents and their commitment to the town’s history.

“This place matters,” said Theresa SchretzmannMyers, a Windermere resident volunteering on the Historic Preservation Board and as chairwoman of the tree board. “It was the first school, the first church, the first orange grove. It’s the …

County Construction in Progress with INVEST Program

Southwest to See Improvements

by Debra Wood


Southwest resident and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs announced a $300 million INVEST program for roads, parks and other facilities during her 2015 State of the County address. County officials identified and discussed what projects to include in the program, and already have several upgrades in the works in Southwest Orlando.

Residents Push Back Against Land Use Change

by Debra Wood Dr. Phillips homeowners are mounting an offense to try to stop a developer seeking a land use amendment for the Majorca Planned Development west of Turkey Lake Drive at Spring Lake to build Rialto 2 with up to 325 multifamily residential units on a parcel of land designated as commercial. Roy Messinger, with the Southern…