Allying for the future

Goldenrod clean-up

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  • | 8:24 a.m. July 20, 2011
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Graffiti and other criminal activity has spurred some Goldenrod community activists to fight back.
Photo by: Isaac Babcock - Graffiti and other criminal activity has spurred some Goldenrod community activists to fight back.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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From combating crime, to cleaning up the streets and promoting local businesses, the Goldenrod Community Alliance has high hopes to do all it can to help revitalize the Goldenrod area.

Years spent struggling with homelessness and vandalism, paired with the effects of the recession left the Goldenrod area in desperate straits and the first such community alliance overwhelmed. But the GCA has returned and held its first meeting in more than three years, July 6, with six members.

Members of the alliance say that by relaunching the non-profit community activist group, community members can ban together to help revitalize the Goldenrod area.

The group was originally active as the Historic Village Main Street Project in the 1990s, and changed its name to the Goldenrod Community Alliance in 2008, but has not been operative since, Goldenrod Chamber of Commerce Director Darlene Dangel said.

“Theoretically we can make this as big as we want to make it; the future’s wide-open,” GCA member Scott Clarke said. “It’s just a matter of putting it together and getting started.”

The Goldenrod community spans about 3 square miles, from University Boulevard to Howell Branch Road to the north and east and Semoran Boulevard to the west. From helping to raise money and secure grants for the area to arranging meetings with local law enforcement agents and citizens to identify area crime trends, Clarke said the opportunities for the new GCA are endless.

Goldenrod Chamber of Commerce and GCA member Mark Bailey said the opportunity to meet with local law enforcement agents one-on-one through the GCA is what he is looking forward to most as the organization gets off the ground.

“I’m a member of the Chamber, but I never go to meetings,” Bailey said. “But I’ll be at all of these because of the law enforcement part. The opportunity to sit down and talk to the officers that patrol this area is priceless.”

Cpt. Lee Masse with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said the GCA can aid law enforcement by spreading information in the community.

“The whole emphasis of this is really to establish a partnership between the private sector and law enforcement,” Masse said. “Neither sector can do everything alone, so working to do it together is a great opportunity.”

Masse said that the alliance will help to open a two-way bridge of communication between citizens and law enforcement by sharing information with the public regarding crime trends and possible crime suspects and getting a response from police in return.

“If they’re more aware about things going on in their community, they might be even more apt to pay attention to some things and potential crime that may have previously gone under the radar,” he said.

Masse said that though crime rates in the Goldenrod area have remained steady in recent years, long-standing community issues such as homelessness and graffiti have inspired local citizens and members of the GCA to take action.

Clarke said he aims for the GCA to follow in the footsteps of the recently formed nearby Semoran Business Partnership in pulling together local residents and owners of the 200 Goldenrod businesses to commit to cleaning up the community and make it a safer, better place to live. Two of his goals are to increase lighting on Aloma Avenue and improve safety on the portion of the Cady Way Trail that runs through Goldenrod.

“We all have our reasons to get involved, we just need to find the inspiration each person needs for them to get involved as well,” Clarke said. “We’re not asking for a lot of time, we just want people to get involved in something that can really help their community.”

Learn more

The next Goldenrod Community Alliance meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 3 at 11:45 a.m. For more information on how to get involved or to RSVP, call 407-677-5980.