Leaf Blower Rebates, Street Repairs, and a Mayoral Election Among City’s To-Do List

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The first quarter of the new year is under way and for many in the public and private sectors, the first order of business is continuing old business. The growing list of items on City Hall’s 2024 calendar include several projects in-progress and a March election that will fill two positions.

Many long-term improvements are projected to remain long-term. City representatives have stated that the protracted schedule of electric utility undergrounding will continue due to a lack of available materials. Recently approved safety upgrades along Osceola, Brewer, and Aloma avenues will be part of an FDOT-led road repaving project slated for 2025. However, options for an ongoing rehab project may come into better focus. Public input will be sought for a proposed housing project. And campaigns are under way as a new mayoral race will vacate a City Commission seat.

Leaf Blower Rebate

Winter Park’s ban on gas-powered leaf blowers passed unanimously in January of 2022 with a 30-month paused elimination of the tools. The ordinance goes into effect in July, banning all gas-powered leaf blowers and regulating the times when leaf blowers can be used. According to city documents, penalties will be served to the homeowner in the same manner as shoreline and tree service violations. Reminders in the form of direct mail and press advertisements will also begin.

A copy of a print ad reminding residents of the leaf blower ordinance. Image courtesy of: City of Winter Park

Commissioners will discuss a $50 rebate incentive for the purchase of an electric leaf blower during their meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 10. The proposed rebates would be funded by the Energy Conservation Fund and allow one credit per household within the city limits. The rebates would be processed in the same manner as current energy audit rebates and appear as a credit on utility bills within one to two billing cycles. A copy of the meeting agenda can be accessed here.


Vice Mayor Sheila DeCiccio announced in October her intent to run for mayor as Phil Anderson will not seek a second term. Her candidacy means that a special election will be held to fill the remainder of her term on City Commission Seat 2, for which she began her second term last year.

The ballots are currently set for the March 19 election with local real estate professional Michael Cameron Sidawi running against DeCiccio. The candidates competing for Seat 2 are attorney Jason Johnson, Center for Public Safety Director Stockton Reeves, and Winter Park High School teacher and coach Craig Russell. Check the city’s election information portal for additional candidate information.

New Construction

The fate of Winter Park’s old library building will once again be debated with another option for its reuse coming under review. The new proposal outlines an education facility that includes a space museum, learning center, and a business incubator. According to City of Winter Park Communications Director Clarissa Howard, the last RFP solicitation period ended in November and reviews will be scheduled for upcoming city meetings.

Meanwhile, a 3-story, 80,981-square-foot apartment building has been proposed for Rollins College faculty and staff housing. Residents are advised of two public hearings on the project, scheduled for the Jan. 9 Planning & Zoning Board meeting and the Jan. 24 City Commission meeting. The proposal is also on the agenda for City Commission’s Jan. 10 meeting. The building would be constructed at 273 W. New England Ave., 262, 308 and 316 W. Welbourne Ave., and 210 S. Virginia Ave.

The proposal for a 3-story, 48-unit apartment building at S. Virginia and W. New England avenues will be discussed during three January meetings. Image courtesy of: City of Winter Park


Materials and equipment deliveries are under way at the Seven Oaks Park project but construction delays continued with the closing of Palmetto Avenue pushed back to this month. City Commission has also requested a review of the construction schedule, and of funding sources for the project.

Parks & Recreation Director Jason Seeley previously told the32789 that the final budget was determined when inflation was over 8%, which affected the costs of labor, skilled trades, and construction materials. Commissioner Marty Sullivan, during the Dec. 13 commission meeting, requested the reviews in an effort to offset costs by finding add-ons or amenities that can be cut or delayed. The matter will be on the agenda for City Commission’s Jan. 10 meeting.

Construction is also set to begin on upgrades at Community Playground and on the new Unity Corner outdoor space.

The community is invited to a special groundbreaking ceremony at Unity Corner, located by the intersection of Denning Drive and Morse Boulevard, on Monday, Jan. 15, at 9:15 a.m. Howard stated that the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial statue that will centerpiece the space has been approved by the MLK Foundation, and new landscape designs are approaching completion. “We’re working with our landscape architect on the area outside the sculpture,” she said. “While improvements will be minimal, we still need construction documents that are currently being drafted and finalized.”

Community Playground improvements are scheduled to begin in March with new water features, safety upgrades, and an updated castle play area. The four-month construction schedule is slated for completion by June so that the facility can be ready in time for summer.


Flood prevention was a priority during last year’s city budget hearings, but many improvements hinge on the findings of ongoing basin and drainage studies. According to Public Works & Transportation Department Engineer Shannon Monahan, the studies in progress are a central study covering the Winter Park Chain of Lakes, and studies covering the basins to the west and east of the chain. “The goal of these studies is to create a stormwater management master plan and modeling tool that can be used to develop mitigation plans for historical and future flooding,” she said.

Monahan added that studies are on schedule for completion by the middle or end of the year, and interim drainage alternatives will be developed as studies continue.

Efforts to improve road conditions are also continuing with more than 4,000 square-feet of spot depression repairs completed since July, according to Transportation Planner Keith Moore of the Public Works & Transportation Department. The “pothole” repairs are on track to be completed later this year as contractors begin to address larger block-to-block areas and roadway repairs in the coming months. Moore added that the repair timeframe of larger problem areas will be determined after a detailed analysis of the source of the surface deterioration.

“Underlying conditions – including issues with utilities and drainage – will need to be corrected to repair and prevent the future deterioration of a roadway,” he said.

The next City Commission meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 3:30 p.m., and Mayor Phil Anderson will lead his final CoffeeTalk meeting on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 8:30 a.m. The calendar of commission and advisory board meetings is available at cityofwinterpark.org/meetings.

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