OCOEE Two city grant programs each involving eight recipients received unanimous approval from the Ocoee City Commission at its April 5 meeting.
Most Valuable Partnership matching grants to help neighborhoods and organizations enhance property values and quality of life went to: Admiral Point, Ashton Park, Betty J's Florist, Johio Bay, Lake Olympia Club, Rotary Club of Ocoee, Sleepy Harbour and Whitehill. Each can receive up to $2,000 in matched funds.
The Community Grant Review Board recommended eight applicants to receive $500 community grants for non-profit work: American Legion Post 109, Autism & Related Disabilities Program, Barkie's Legacy, Bread of Life Fellowship, HAPCO Music Foundation, Junior Achievement of Central Florida, Matthew's Hope and West Orange Seniors. The CGRB recommended denial of grant funding for Camp Boggy Creek, Indian Horizon Inc., Standing Ovation Talent Group and Xodus Prison Ministry.
Resident Henry Morgan asked the commission and city staff to check on Florida Department of Transportation construction near Bluford Avenue and Maguire Road. He expressed concerns for safety and businesses in that area possibly having a harder time drawing traffic, based on FDOT's construction. Commissioners assured him they would have staff examine this issue. Later, in the consent agenda, the commission renewed with FDOT a three-year fixed annual $25,100 contract for state road maintenance, based on the state budgeted unit pricing. Costs will increase as State Road 50 corridor improvements are finished.
Ocoee citizen Cheryl King cited a study showing crime worsening in the Clarke Road vicinity, to the point she said it showed trending toward Pine Hills levels within a decade as possible. She requested the commission and Ocoee Police Department consider establishing a specific force and plan to address this area, with considerations for the next budget. District 4 Commissioner Joel Keller offered ideas such as enhancing the Neighborhood Watch and adding a tower in a nearby area to improve police line-of-sight coverage and dedicate staff to such coverage at night. Costs for that tower could be offset at least in part by adding commercial wireless carriers' equipment to it, he said. Police Chief Charlie Brown said his department's research into this issue has been underway.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Mayor Rusty Johnson, District 1 Commissioner John Grogan and new District 3 Commissioner Richard Firstner swore in for three-year terms. Firstner accepted liaison appointment to the Citizens Advisory Board for the Fire Department.
- Commissioners proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and Water Conservation Month.
- The commission elected District 2 Commissioner Rosemary Wilsen mayor pro tem and appointed outgoing interim District 3 Commissioner Angel de la Portilla to the Planning & Zoning Commission through February 2019.
- City staff presented a septic tank pump out services video from Ocoee Utilities. For a $60 registration fee and $7 per monthly utility bill, Ocoee Utilities staff will perform an initial inspection and -- if the tank is in proper condition -- pump out citizens' tanks within 45 days, with subsequent pumps every three years. Call (407) 905-3159 or visit Ocoee.org for more information.
- Grogan and Keller reported on their trip to a recent National League of Cities conference. They said they had received free grant-finder software and pledges from Florida's elected officials to support Ocoee in its growth and community issues. Grogan announced the National League of Cities would meet next year in Ocoee.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].