OCOEE, Fla. -- Over in West Orange County, window shopping in Ocoee is a little difficult right now.
- Construction in downtown Ocoee part of redevelopment
- City invests $44M in 'Downtown Capital Investment Program'
- All projects to be complete by 2020
Construction along Bluford Avenue and other streets is making it difficult for customers and residents to get from business to business throughout the downtown and lakefront part of town.
“Thank you for calling Betty J's Florist,” said Rilla Tomyn, as she answers the phone in her shop.
She pulls out a printed set of directions to help the calling customer find their way around the construction and to her shop.
“We have got to look at it long term -- what is this going to look like in 20 years? What is it going to look like even in five years? It will be exciting for this street corner," said Tomyn, as she looked out the window at the construction.
Tomyn is excited about the changes coming to her small town. From experience, she knows how much growth that can happen after a little pruning is done.
“It will be its own destination place. We are very lucky because we have the lake," Tomyn said.
The City of Ocoee is ready to turn its lakefront properties into a more visited destination.
Through their Downtown Capital Investment Program, the city invested $44 million for a list of projects that include building better roads, switching from septic to sewer, and renovating and upgrading several buildings.
“Change is happening everywhere. I don’t know how we can avoid it," Tomyn said.
In reality, Tomyn doesn’t want to avoid the change. She and her employees are happy to see their small arrangement of a city blooming into something much larger.
“(The) glass is definitely always half full. We are looking forward to what happens when (the construction) is not in front of us, and we get all that new foot traffic, all those wonderful new customers," Tomyn said.
All of the projects will be complete by 2020, with a majority of them set to be done by 2018.