Rendering: Dr. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center
In addition to the Orlando Magic, the area is sports-rich in other ways. It has more than 100 golf courses and a number of high-profile golf tournaments, including the Tavistock Cup and the PGA’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. Football Club Orlando is working to build a $50-million soccer complex near Winter Garden.
» Aside from theme parks, kid-friendly amenities include the Orlando Science Center, with the largest publicly accessible refractor telescope in Florida.
» The area, headwaters to the Everglades, has more than 2,000 springs, rivers and lakes. The spring-fed Wekiva, a tributary
of the St. Johns, is a rare wild river in an urban area.
» Orlando and Orange County generally rank in the average range in state-collected health data. A few notables: The county’s population is much less likely than state average to get a flu shot. Trends are good in coronary heart disease death rates and lung and breast cancer death rates. The county has a higher than state average rate of hospitalization for stroke, and the death rate from stroke is higher than the state average. The rate of HIV and AIDS cases reported is higher than the state average; for chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea, it’s much higher. The county fares worse than state averages in the number of dentists and licensed hospital beds.
Florida TaxWatch cited a number of Orlando city and Orange County agencies for notable practices in 2008, including a city business assistance team and revitalization project and a county mapping project to increase emergency preparedness.
Among Florida county governments, Orange County ranks 16th in total taxes levied per capita.
Due to the presence of the theme parks, the county is rich in performers and artists. United Arts, a non-profit created by the business community, funds nearly 40 organizations and as many artists in the community. The 20-year-old organization is the sixth-largest United Arts fund in the country. Construction of a $400-million Dr. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center, with space for concerts, theater, ballet and education, is expected to be complete by 2012. The county is home to a number of museums, including the Orlando Museum of Art, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, the Orlando Science Center, the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.
The county district is rated “A”overall
and has a lower than state average dropout rate. The district has lower than state average pass rates on grade 10 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test,
Drugs and an increasingly violent street culture helped lead to more serious crime over the past five years, including a record 123 murders last year. With more than 6,500 crimes per 100,000 residents,
Orange County had the state’s highest crime rate in 2008. Violent crime numbers have dropped significantly in the first half
of 2009, however, in part because of an effort to put more officers on the streets and move them quickly to crime hot spots.
» A $1.1-billion plan is bringing a new Orlando Magic arena, Citrus Bowl renovations and a new performing arts center to the heart of downtown. Publix opened a long-sought supermarket downtown last year.
Construction of the $480-million Amway Center, future home of the Orlando Magic.