THE COMMUNITIES OF WEST LAKES

In 2014 the residents of five unique neighborhoods west of downtown, came together under the banner of “The Communities of West Lakes” for the first time.

The Communities of West Lakes are the neighborhoods west of Parramore and east of Washington Shores or between Orange Blossom Trail and John Young Pkwy.

The Communities of West Lakes are the neighborhoods west of Parramore and east of Washington Shores or between Orange Blossom Trail and John Young Pkwy.

 
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This community-driven organization was formed by a small group of resident volunteers with the vision to serve as an internal catalyst to improve of the quality of life for all residents of the West Lakes Communities.

Today West Lakes Partnership (WLP) is a 501c3 nonprofit with a full-time Executive Director and active Board of Directors. The organization is committed to the mission of “building pathways to stability, power, and generational wealth in West Lakes alongside the residents of West Lakes.” WLP focuses on improving housing options, fostering a vibrant local economy, preserving green spaces, and providing resources and support to residential leaders. The organization works closely with neighborhood Home Owners Associations, local business owners, elected leaders, and great community partners.

Learn more about West Lakes Partnership.

West Lakes Partnership At A Glance

15 Board Members

The West Lakes Partnership Board is now fully equipped with 15 committed members, meeting monthly. The majority of the board are residents from one of the five West Lakes Neighborhoods: Clear Lake Cove, Lake Lorna Doone, Rock Lake, Luola Terrace/Lake Sunset, and Clearlake: Bunche Manor/Hollando.

10,000 Editions

“West Lakes News” is distributed every other month and is delivered to each household by the West Lakes Partnership, culminating in an impressive 10,000 issues being printed in 2018. Since its inception in 2014, “West Lakes News” has now reached a member circulation list of 1600 households.

$50,000 Operating Budget

West Lakes Partnership raised $50,000 in revenue last year. Money was raised utilizing board gifts, creative leasing projects with LIFT Orlando and online donations from residents.

221 Residents

Over the course of the year, 221 residents attended West Lakes Partnership community meetings, with an average attendance of 70 residents per gathering.

$250,000 In Grant Money

In collaboration with Hannibal Square CLT, West Lakes Partnership was awarded $250,000 in a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to acquire, renovate and market 5 previously abandoned single family homes in the West Lakes footprint. These homes will be beautifully renovated and updated and then resold as affordable single family homes to qualifying families.

 
 

HIGH-QUALITY, MIXED-INCOME HOUSING

We continue to strive for our goal of providing affordable mixed-income housing solutions for the Communities of West Lakes. 2018 saw Pendana fully leased, construction started on the Senior Residences at Pendana and we picked up some national recognition for our efforts along the way!

200 Fully Leased Units

In 2018 LIFT Orlando replaced Washington Shores Village, known as the worst apartments in Orlando, with Pendana at West Lakes. Developed in partnership Columbia Residential, Phase 1 includes 200 mixed-income apartments homes. These 200 units were fully leased in 2018 and in February of 2019, Pendana celebrated its one-year anniversary.

A Place For Families

Pendana has made more than a few housing dreams come true and no one is more proud and grateful than Charlene Caines and her family! A single mother of 4 young boys, Ms. Caines was previously sharing a cramped 2-bedroom apartment with her sister. She applied for a unit at Pendana and was ecstatic to have qualified for a 3-bedroom space for her family at a rate she can afford. Now she and her boys love calling Pendana home!

2 Housing Awards

The Orlando Business Journal bestowed Pendana with the 2018 Multi-Family Real Estate Award, an honor given to builders thought to be outstanding in their fields.

We were also the recipient of the Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Award. We were nominated by Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, for this national award, honoring organizations showing exemplary use of CDGB and HOME funds as well as providing outstanding public service to its community.

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120 Senior Housing Units

In partnership with Columbia Residential, we broke ground on the Senior Residences of Pendana. Tentatively scheduled to be opening in December of 2019, The Senior Residences will boast 120 affordable units, equipped with handicap accessible floor plans and amenities for the unique needs of senior citizens.

 

CRADLE TO CAREER EDUCATION

With increased and intentional partnerships with OCPS, construction beginning on the West Lakes Early Learning Center and a record number of families participating in MVP Families, the dream of the cradle-to-career pipeline is steadily becoming a reality.

 

18,000 Sq. Foot Early Learning Center

This state-of-the-art facility is the first of its kind in, not only the West Lakes community but in Orlando! Joining with stake-holder, AdventHealth, the center will accommodate up to 180 families, aged 6 weeks to preschool, It will provide wraparound services for all of its families, including an on-site clinic, nutritional resources, and events intended to foster a true sense of community among the families who call West Lakes home. Tuition will be based upon a sliding scale and scholarships will be made available on a case-by-case basis.

$8.5 Million West Lakes Boys & Girls Club

The Otis-Bradley West Lakes Boys & Girls Club is breaking the mold on the traditional Boys & Girls Club design. The $8.5 million dollar budget has allowed architects to think outside the box in design decisions. As a result this Club will shed the traditional block and stucco exterior for more natural looking materials, such as synthetic wood and real stone, giving the building a homey and modern feel. Upon its completion in the summer of 2020, this facility will provide summer and after school refuge to approximately 300 students, aged 6-18 years old.

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50 MVP Families

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In partnership with Florida Citrus Sports, Florida Blue and The Polis Institute, MVP Families come together monthly for a community dinner, educational workshops and goal setting. In 2018 nearly 50 families from West Lakes participated regularly in MVP Families by attending monthly community dinners and workshops, setting financial and educational goals and participating in healthy discussion around holistic transformation for both themselves and their community.

 
 

COMMUNITY HEALTH & WELLNESS

We have taken great strides in 2018 to create high-quality programs and facilities designed to promote the health and wellness of the residents of West Lakes. We have witnessed an unprecedented drop in violent crimes in West Lakes, mostly in part to the demolition of Orange Manor Apartments and the construction of Pendana. In conjunction with The Polis Institute, we conducted a survey of West Lakes residents in 2018 and developed a health and wellness plan based solely upon the community’s needs and desires. The West Lakes Community Wellness Center will serve as a crucial resource to families in desperate need of affordable and consistent healthcare and access to healthier eating and exercise options. Our goal with our health and wellness programs is to see the Communities of West Lakes truly thrive under the banner of holistic transformation as we begin to see healthier choices leading to extended life expectancy and improved quality of life.

 
 

3 Healthcare Giants Combine Forces

We are progressing steadily in the planning stages of the Health and Wellness Center, partnering with key stakeholders, Orlando Health, Florida Blue and AdventHealth, to determine specifics and overall design of the building. Programmatic elements are still being determined, but our hopes is the Wellness Center will provide healthy food and nutrition educational resources as well as clinical offices and exercise facilities. We are working with three giants in healthcare to diligently develop state-of-the-art facility and programs to inspire the residents of West Lakes in their own journeys of health and wellness.

The $8 Million Dollar Park

Growing up in Lake Lorna Doone, Tangia Smikle’s fondest childhood memories are of Lake Lorna Doone Park. Once a bustling park of kids playing and parents catching up, it now sits dilapidated and in desperate need of repair. LIFT Orlando, Florida Citrus Sports and the City of Orlando partnered with West Lakes Partnership to create an $8 million investment into the revitalization of Lake Lorna Doone Park. These plans include best-in-class sports facilities, playgrounds equipped for children with special needs and sporting and game programs provided by the city. To date, $1 million has been pledged to this park redesign by Florida Citrus Sports with another $1 million promised by the City of Orlando and professional sports teams such as the Orlando Magic and Orlando City soccer have pledged their support. 2018 saw Tangia well on her way to returning her childhood park back to its former glory days of life and vitality.

 

LONG-TERM ECONOMIC VIABILITY

Our commitment to the long-term economic viability of the Communities of West Lakes sets us apart from other organizations also using the community impact model. We believe a vision for mixed-income housing, cradle to career education, and community health and wellness stop short of providing a truly transformative experience for a neighborhood. Without dedication to the long-term economic viability of West Lakes, we cannot ensure we are truly building with residents a lasting legacy for the generations to come. This is why we have worked diligently with partners to provide the financial resources and tools residents need to ensure as their neighborhoods improve and grow, they are benefitting from every dollar being invested.

 
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$9.4 Million Impact Investment Fund

In 2018 we created the LIFT Orlando Impact Investment Fund (LIIF) in an effort to ignite economic redevelopment within the Communities of West Lakes through strategic, targeted real estate investments within the 32805 area. Through strategic investments we have raised $9.4 million in commitments. To date, we have deployed $4.44 million in real estate acquisitions within 32805. Throughout 2018 LIIF acquired a total of 7 properties over 4.3 acres of land. These investments will directly and indirectly impact every aspect of our vision to achieve the wealth and wellbeing of West Lakes.

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$1.2 Million SunTrust Grant

In late 2018, a $1.2 million grant from SunTrust Foundation and a partnership with Goodwill of Central Florida allowed us to open a Financial Wellbeing Center in the heart of West Lakes. The Financial Wellbeing Center provides financial one-on-one coaching to residents as well as regular financial workshops and even free tax preparation services to qualifying residents.

The Financial Wellbeing Center opened in the fourth quarter of 2018, but has already reached 1700 residents with wealth building messages, seen 24 residents attend financial literacy workshops and has provided 12 residents with one on one financial coaching. With that coaching, one resident was able to decrease his debt by over $8000 and improve his credit score by almost 70 points!

$200,000 Small Business Accelerator Grant

Thanks to a $200,000 grant from JP Morgan Chase, six West Lakes businesses joined together in the West Lakes Food Business Accelerator. Assisted by the Rally Social Enterprise Accelerator, these businesses participated in intentional discussions revolving around the motivations of their enterprises, assessing their biggest risks, and creating strategic plans for growth.

With 2019 bringing monthly events targeted to promote networking and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in West Lakes, we are anticipating even more opportunities to grow both the businesses currently in 32805 as well as entice established businesses into the opportunity zone of West Lakes.

20 Years And Going Strong

Oley’s Yummy Kitchen has been a staple of the West Lakes neighborhoods for decades. In the fall of 2018, Karl Brown, owner of Oley’s, participated in the West Lakes Small Business Accelerator. Although Mr. Brown has been successfully operating Oley’s for years now, he was pleased to find the experience was extremely helpful and rewarding.

“No matter how long you’ve done something, you’re always learning” he said later of the experience. “As a small business owner, we are often on an island by ourselves.” Brown continues. “The Business Accelerator is a bridge.”

We look forward to extending that bridge even further as we enter into 2019.

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OUR VISION 2020

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