ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Mayor Buddy Dyer joined the Downtown Development Board (DDB) in honoring its 50th annviersary with brand new artwork Wedensday morning.
City Commissioners Robert Stuart, Patty Sheehan, Regina Hill and Bakari Burns also joined Downtown Development Board Executive Director Thomas Chatmon, Jr. in the celebration at the Discover Downtown information center on Orange Avenue, unveiling a brand new art sculpture that embodies the energy and optimism Orlando’s leaders tout as often as possible: a bright yellow sign with the letters “DTO,” the initials for Downtown Orlando.
The sculpture creates another iconic point of interest for residents and visitors alike to the area. The installation was designed to specifically celebrate downtown and serve as a “selfie-inducing” moment to share on social media – generating excitement to visit the sculpture as well as further promoting downtown as a destination.
“Over the past fifty years, we have seen downtown Orlando’s growth become a national model in showcasing how municipalities, community partners, and business leaders can execute a shared vision for a 21st century city,” said Mayor Dyer. “I look forward to seeing the area continue to grow, offering world class city amenities that further supporting our economy.”
At the event today, in addition to the sculpture reveal, the DDB shared that there will be an art exhibit, Elevating DTO – 50 Years and Rising: Through the Eyes of Local Artists, at CityArts beginning July 15 to coincide with the Downtown Arts District’s monthly Third Thursday event. A call for artists for this exhibit is now open and interested artists can submit here through July 7. This exhibition will feature original drawings, paintings and sculpture of downtown locations, landmarks and milestones over the past 50 years. Artists are encouraged to think of places that are recognizable and to share historic memories.
Also, as part of the anniversary celebration, an exhibit at the Orange County Regional History Center will be installed later this summer that focuses on the phases of growth, collaboration, innovation, and changing landscape of downtown Orlando over the past 50 years.
The public will have another opportunity to learn more about downtown Orlando’s past, present, and future at a future What’s Up Downtown event. Registration is expected to open on downtownorlando.com one month prior to the event date.
“On behalf of the DDB, we are proud to be here today to celebrate serving the downtown community for fifty years,” said Thomas C. Chatmon, Executive Director of the DDB. “I am looking forward to the exciting plans we have for this community celebration and the role the DDB will continue to play in strengthening the downtown economy in the years ahead.”
During Mayor Dyer’s tenure, Downtown Orlando did a $90 million renovation of the previously known Citrus Bowl into what is now Camping World Stadium (including the title sponsorship), the construction of Orlando City Stadium, the soccer stadium that became the model for MLS city-specific soccer stadiums nationwide and also eventually gained a title sponsor to become Exploria Stadium.
In the past two years, Downtown Orlando also developed new affordable living spaces for seniors in the heart of Parramore, Commissioner Hill’s district, UCF’s Downtown Orlando campus emerged, as well as a brand new Marriott hotel near Church Street station.
Mayor Dyer reflected on Downtown Orlando’s evolution during his 16-year tenure within that 50 years. He told the press of a time many years ago when Downtown Orlando was considered blighted, clarifying that there was only one block that was, the area at what was then Main and Main, and the work they did to beautify it. When Florida National News asked him what he feels is the most meaningful development project. “Well, there have been many [key] projects over the years, so I can’t pick just one–that would be like picking a favorite child, but I’ll say the development of The Plaza was the catalyst [for other big projects].”
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com