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Central Florida Changes

There is so much exciting activity going on in Central Florida right now, I can’t wait to see the end results. There is major road construction, a downtown being created and new attractions being built at local theme parks.

If you’ve lived in Central Florida any amount of time at all, you’ve probably fallen victim to I-4’s rush hour traffic. I remember living here in the late 80s and some clever marketer sold bumper stickers that read “I-4 Hostage.” The tongue-in-cheek sticker helped ease the pain of those stuck in the inevitable parking lot that was I-4. The biggest trouble spots are heading through the downtown exchanges and the famously dangerous Fairbanks curves.

Those curves have been the site of many, many accidents and the I-4 Construction Videobane of DOT’s existence. And, whoever designed the fiasco of the on ramp merging into the same lane that’s exits towards the 408 should be fired. I can’t wait to see how they redesign those two areas! Meanwhile, the construction work is evident and will be going on for quite a while. It is estimated that the whole project will take over six years to complete. It will all be worth it in the end, for residents as well as tourists. For complete info, visit the I-4 Ultimate website.

Since I live in Maitland, I have a personal interest in what’s going on there. Maitland doesn’t really have a “downtown”  to speak of. We’d love to have a place for people to congregate, with shops and restaurants and outdoor spaces to attract the locals, special events and tourists. It would be great to create a reason for folks to walk the “Cultural Corridor” off Maitland Avenue. Discover hidden gems like the Waterhouse Residence Museum, the Maitland Historical Museum, the Telephone Museum and the Maitland Art Center.

When developers pitched plans for the Maitland City Centre, some residents opposed it, wanting less “density” and buildings with fewer stories, to keep a small town feel much like Park Avenue in neighboring Winter Park. The plans have since been approved and Maitland City Centre is underway. The new buildings will be somewhat similar to the relatively new development up the street at the corner of 17-92 and Lake Avenue. Village at Lake Lily offers luxury apartments, a great Japanese restaurant named Rangetsu with views of the lake from the patio, hair and nail salons, and a fabulous cake baker that created my wedding cake —shout out to Sarah at Sweeter Than The Rest! I can’t wait to see what Maitland City Centre will be like when it’s done. Click to see some renderings and learn more about the project.

This weekend, for Valentine’s Day, my husband and I are planning to go to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. These two neighboring parks have LOTS of construction going on. New projects include experiencing a high speed chase on Fast and Furious, replacing the old Twister set with Race Though New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, major revisions to the Incredible Hulk Coaster and the new Skull Island: Reign of KongClick to watch a video overview by Mako Madness of current construction progress.

I’m bummed I won’t be able to ride one of my favorites, The Hulk. Don’t tell my chiropractor I’m riding rollercoasters this weekend! I’m sure I’ll be in to see him on Monday to straighten out my spine…

Happy Valentine’s Day! Make it a memorable one!