Communities in Central Florida Benefit from Competitive Florida Grants

In 2016-17, the Central Florida Regional Planning Council (CFRPC) facilitated the designation of the City of Frostproof and Polk City as Competitive Florida Communities through the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).  Through this program, the CFRPC has been able to assist these municipalities to identify strategies to build and enhance their local economies while staying true to what makes them unique and give them a competitive advantage.
The City of Frostproof launched Frostproof on the Move,  a collaborative effort that enabled the City to identify key community assets and set goals to implement an economic strategy for the City. Through community conversations, surveys, and a public workshop, information was collected from citizens, local businesses, and service organizations to shape the economic vision and develop an implementation strategy.

In Polk City, a mini-grant was awarded to further implement the recently adopted Polk City Vision Plan using innovative planning tools to enhance the local economy. A comprehensive GIS mapping database of all developed and developable commercial and industrial properties as well as an inventory of all vacant developable lands in the City was created. A familiarization tour was also hosted to gather input from local and regional business leaders to create an economic development

 information package. And, in June of 2017 the CFRPC and Polk City facilitated the first WaterWise Expo to inform the community on best practices in water conservation and low impact development (LID). The expo had a special focus on the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern as the City is located in this important water resource area.
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West Lakes Community Health Impact Assessment

A collaborative effort between Lift Orlando, the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, and the Winter Park Health Foundation began in 2016 to discuss the LIFT Orlando Strategic Plan and its focus on health in the built environment. The update of the strategic plan provided an opportunity to conduct an Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for the West Lakes Community.  The West Lakes Community is one rich in African-American history, yet burdened with a high concentration of chronic poverty, unemployment, homelessness and crime.

The main goal of a HIA is to assess potential health impacts of a proposed policy, program or project, in specific social and community contexts.  This is done in order to develop evidence-based recommendations that serve to inform decision-makers, protect and improve community health and, in some cases, address health inequalities. The study also analyzes data and research on health factors, employment, economics, and the built environment.  The West Lakes Community HIA aided in identifying gaps and strengthening the Health & Wellness component of the Lift Orlando Strategic Plan.  The report aims to be an example for similar communities to follow.

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Northeast Florida Regional Leadership Academy

The Northeast Florida Regional Council created the Northeast Florida Regional Leadership Academy in 2005. Since its inception the Academy has graduated over 225 participants and is a program that nurtures and cultivates a commitment to Regionalism.  The Academy educates Regional Leaders and invests in the future of communities through a mission to make Northeast Florida a better place to live and work. Recently the 2017 class was in St. Johns County covering the topics of affordable housing and agriculture. Bill Lazar of the St. Johns Housing Partnership led a lively discussion on affordable housing. David Dinkins of UF/IFAS introduced the group to farmers who led a tour of two farms, Blue Sky and Barnes, provided an overview of agriculture in Northeast Florida and hosted a wonderful, locally sourced lunch. For more information on the Academy, visit www.nefrla.com.

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