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. | firstname.lastname@example.org
Raising Canes Opens Clearwater Location to Rave Reviews
CLEARWATER, Fla. (FNN) – Hundreds of people lined up Tuesday for the grand opening of Raising Canes, the latest chicken hot spot in the Tampa Bay area. Raising Canes, which was founded in Louisiana, dubbed Clearwater as their first Florida location and fans delivered a warm welcome for the chain that proudly proclaims, “we serve only the most crave-able chicken finger meals, it’s our one love.”
The Pena’s showing some sibling love wanted to be the first in line for this momentous occasion. Getting in line at 10 PM, the duo planned to camp out with friends.
“We had to stay up all night, but it was fun,” said Ashley Pena. “We are definitely going to remember this experience.”
20 of the first 100 people were entered into a drawing to win free Raising Canes for a year!
For Kim Boldus, bringing the franchise to the area hits close to home and means the world to her.
“Raising Canes is really all about being in the community,” she said. I’m really excited personally and professionally because I am from this area, born and raised. I am very excited to bring this amazing restaurant. We do so many amazing things to pair with the community and I can’t wait to see what we do here in Clearwater.”
According to their website, Raising Canes supports over 30,000 local organizations. At the grand opening, they had the support of the local Chamber of Commerce as well as the Mayor to celebrate this momentous occasion.
After the pomp and circumstance, it was time to eat, much to the delight of the hungry fans waiting for a taste of chicken tender goodness, some who has experienced Raising Canes before, and others who wanted to see what the hype was all about.
“We’ve had our food truck out in the community this week and so we’ve had so many people excited to see us,” Boldus added. “For those who have never been, you can expect the most tender chicken fingers you’ve ever had with the best special secret sauce and garlic Texas toast that will blow your mind.”
Unsure of what to get? Bodldus offers a simple solution.
“Definitely a box combo so that you can try everything we have on the menu!”
Raising Canes is located at 2525 Gulf to Bay Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33765. The restaurant offers both dine-in and drive-through options and is open from 10 AM until midnight Sunday – Thursday and 1 AM on Friday and Saturday.
Tim Giuliani Elected to International Chamber of Commerce General Council
Orlando, Fla. – Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) President and CEO Tim Giuliani has been elected to the World Chambers Federation (WCF) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) General Council. Representing more than 1,400 chambers from around the world, this year’s Council is comprised of one of the most diverse cadres of chamber leaders in its history, reflecting WCF’s commitment to advancing regional and gender diversity.
“This is much more than simply a professional honor,” said Giuliani. “This recognition further reinforces Orlando’s reputation as a global leader in economic development and highlights how our mission of advancing Broad-based Prosperity® aligns with WCF’s objective to elevate and empower businesses to be leading players in tackling our most pressing issues. I look forward to sharing our region’s best practices and vision for inclusive growth with my fellow members to show how we all can drive an impactful future for communities everywhere.”
ICC is the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 100 countries with a mission to enable business to secure peace, prosperity, and opportunity for all and ensure business work for everyone, every day, everywhere. Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions and standard setting, the organization promotes international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation in addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Its members include many of the world’s leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.
The Partnership has a long history of supporting the Orlando region’s business community. Through its business development efforts, the Partnership works to market the Orlando region as an ideal location for successful and innovative businesses to scale and success while also growing the diversity of the regional economy by providing complimentary services to expanding businesses to achieve a soft and welcoming landing in the business community. The Partnership’s programs and initiatives support our region’s existing businesses by driving regional investment, catalyzing regional leadership and helping to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
In collaboration with ICC, the WCF provides all the tools to support Chambers and MSMEs, connecting chambers worldwide to develop and reinforce our chamber community. Chamber leaders from local, regional, national and transnational chambers were eligible to run for the General Council, each member serving a three-year term with the opportunity to run twice. The final composition of the Council sees representation from all parts of membership worldwide. It includes nine representatives from the Americas, thirteen from the Africa and Middle East region, nine from Asia-Pacific and twelve from Europe.
“We are proud of the level of enthusiasm and support of our members who showed interest in serving on the ICC WCF General Council,” said WCF Chairman Nicolás Uribe. “We have successfully brought together one of the most diverse and inclusive Councils in our long history, and I look forward to working with all members to strengthen the WCF and the wider chamber community.”
The new members of the WCF Executive Council are as follows:
Mr Tim Giuliani, President and CEO, Orlando Economic Partnership (USA)
Mr Marcelo Elizondo, Director – prosecretary, Argentina Chamber of Commerce and Services (Argentina)
Mr Andrew McKellar, CEO, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Australia)
Mr Olivier Willocx, Chief Executive Officer, Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry (Belgium)
Mrs Maria Teresa Bustamante, President, FIESC Foreign Chamber of Commerce (Brazil)
Mrs Min Yu, General Director, ICC China Secretariat, China Chamber of International Commerce (China)
Mrs Rim Siam, President of Economic Business Women Council, Alexandria Chamber of Commerce (Egypt)
Mr Giorgi Pertaia, President, The Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Georgia)
Mr Volker Treier, Chief Executive of Foreign Trade and Member of the Executive Board, Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (Germany)
Mr Mohammed Khazaee Torshizi, Senior Advisor to President, Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines & Agriculture (Iran)
Mr Kazuo Nishitani, Executive Director, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Japan)
Mr Seong Woo Lee, Vice President, Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Korea)
Mr Trajan Angeloski, President, Macedonian Chambers of Commerce (Macedonia)
Mrs Tamader Al Thani, Director of International Relations and Chamber Affairs, Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Qatar)
Mr Mihai Daraban, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (Romania)
Mr José Luis Bonet, President, Spain Chamber of Commerce (Spain)
Mr Vincent Subilia, Director General, Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (Switzerland)
Mr Izzet Volkan, Chairman of the Board, Corlu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Turkey)
Mr Gennadiy Chyzhykov, President, The Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ukraine)
Mrs Shevaun Haviland, Director General, British Chambers of Commerce (United Kingdom)
Orlando International Airport Pushing 50 Million Passenger Mark, Again
ORLANDO, FL. – With a strong start to the holiday travel season in November, Orlando International Airport (MCO) came dramatically close to breaking the 50 million passenger barrier, again. Previously, MCO shattered the mark before the pandemic and it was not predicted to fully rebound again until at least 2025.
“We have far exceeded anyone’s expectations for traffic growth at Orlando International Airport,” says Kevin Thibault, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. “On a rolling 12-month basis, MCO welcomed 49.7 million passengers as of November. If you break that down even further, it is about two days-worth of traffic shy of 50 million.”
For the month of November, MCO was bolstered once again by robust international traffic, which climbed over 85 percent. Those numbers were also affected by the resumption of service by Sunwing to Toronto. Another key factor, MCO recorded the third-lowest domestic air fares in the country from July through September for the top 50 U.S. airports.
Rolling 12-month Traffic Statistics:
- International traffic is up by triple digits with a 225 percent increase over the same 12-month period in 2021 with 5,352,825 total international passengers.
- Domestic traffic climbed 21.04 percent year-over-year to 44,350,955 passengers at MCO.
- Combined, overall traffic at MCO for the 12-month rolling total was up 29.82 percent to 49,703,780 passengers.
November 2022 Traffic Statistics:
- International traffic climbed 85.35 percent with a total of 466,169 international arrivals and departures.
- Domestic passenger traffic was up 3.83 percent on 3,772,635 total travelers for the month.
- Combined, traffic was up 9.11 percent with a grand total of 4,238,804 arrivals and departures at MCO.
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