An economic engine: That's how Mayor Buddy Dyer described the state of downtown Orlando during his annual address.
Dyer addressed comunity and business leaders Tuesday morning at the Amway Center, outlining his vision for the future of Orlando's downtown area.
The mayor said the city is moving into a new phase of the project "Green Works Orlando." It started five years ago, and the city is now creating a task force run by former Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty, and looking for increased participation by the community.
Dyer said he hopes to plant a new tree for every single person in the city to increase Orlando's tree canopy from 23 to 40 percent.
Starting the first week of November, downtown Orlando residents will no longer have to separate recyclables. Each resident will also get a new, 95-gallon recycling cart -- much larger than the current blue and red bins.
Dyer said the city wants to create a green building code for developers as well.
"This change will allow us to double both the number of people who recycle in Orlando and the amount of material we recycle," the mayor said. "It will also save use more than $125,000 per year. We anticipate the single-care recycling to be fully implemented citywide by Christmas."
Dyer's other goals for the future of downtown Orlando include partnering with the Orlando Utilities Commission to make the city a solar leader, and converting street lights from traditional bulbs to LED lights.
The mayor said he is also looking forward to SunRail to start running in just 15 months from now, and the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to open in 2014.
Nancy Sutley, from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, who flew down from Washington to attend Mayor's state of downtown address, praised the city for its work so far.
Dyer said 100 new businesses opened last year, and now there are seven major projects under way that represent an $800 million investment in downtown Orlando.