OAKLAND — The town of Oakland has made many major changes in the last five years, including an update to the Town Charter, a completion reorganization of town functions and staff, huge advancements in infrastructure and major updates in visioning and planning documents to guide future growth.
“We have come a long way in preparing Oakland for the 21st century, and as development occurs, I am convinced we will be very good — in how we look, operate and meet needs of our citizens — by identifying our locational attributes and marketing them in cooperation with our emerging businesses and regional partners,” Town Manager Dennis Foltz said.
The town is looking to brand itself as it embraces a massive development phase along State Road 50, and one of the ways the town can effectively self-market is through a much-improved website.
Elected officials selected CivicPlus to create a website for improving timeliness of updates; easier navigation; and better communication of information such as weather reports, school closings and evacuation plans. It also will incorporate the town’s new branding efforts.
The town will spend $17,495 over three years for CivicPlus to design, develop and deploy the website plus a fourth-year redesign. The project will take six months to complete.
CivicPlus, with 20 years of experience, will come back to the commission with three design options.
This new website also will share Oakland’s amenities and activities more effectively. Foltz is eager to push ecotourism, because the town has the Oakland Nature Preserve and is in the middle of the West Orange Trail and the Green Mountain Scenic Byway. The state of Lake Apopka is improving, and the north shore boasts a birding area.
“We want to grab the tourists who have been at theme parks all week and draw them here,” Foltz said.
IN OTHER NEWS
• The Oakland Town Commission passed the first reading of an ordinance that updates recreation and administration impact fees. If passed upon the second reading and public hearing, the update would increase combined fees from $685 to $888 and impact residential and commercial development. According to town staff, the increase is necessary because the town has undeveloped land adjacent to the intersection of State Road 50 and Florida’s Turnpike and plans to develop infrastructure to meet growth.
• Duke Energy is starting a project this month that will last until the end of the year. The utility company is replacing every utility pole and major cable in two phases: the Turnpike east to Tubb Street and then the Motamassek canal to the Oakland-Winter Garden line. Duke Energy is funding the project. Oakland Public Works Director Mike Parker said residents and businesses will experience intermittent power outages as the crews transfer the lines.
• Town Clerk Kim Gay has been designated a Master Municipal Clerk, which is the highest achievement a clerk can receive.
• The commission will hold its tentative millage and budget hearing at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14, at Historic Town Hall. The regular Town Commission meeting will follow at 7.
• Repairs have been completed on the fishing pier on Lake Apopka, and it is now open to residents and visitors. A new water-house connection and trash receptacle were installed, as well.
• Oakland Avenue Charter School welcomed nine new staff members and 90 kindergartners for the 2015-16 school year.
Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].