Top 5 Things You Need to Know about Orange County’s District 6
Orange County is home to six districts that have a distinct personality when it comes to history, natural beauty, parks and recreation options, resident diversity and business opportunities. District 6 Commissioner Victoria P. Siplin, who was elected to the Board of County Commissioners in 2014 and appointed vice-mayor in 2017, gave us her Top 5 things to know about her district:
District 6, which includes much of Pine Hills as well as the International Drive tourist area, has an active group of seniors who are engaged in various community projects. They maintain the Pine Hills Community Center’s Community Garden and are also active in the Center’s Veterans Day Remembrance, Black History Month and Older Americans Month programs and festivities.
“We’re a community that recognizes and values our seniors,” said Commissioner Siplin. “Through various programs and activities, we want to empower our seniors to live active, healthy lifestyles and remain independent, but they also take the initiative to engage in community issues for the betterment of everyone who lives here.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all communities, District 6 came together quickly and made it clear that it protected its own. Individuals and families, as well as non-profits and I-Drive area businesses, teamed up to show tremendous love and support towards each other.
“The level of charity that has been expressed during this pandemic has been tremendous,” said Siplin. “The community rallied to provide the basic necessities for residents and keep businesses afloat. It hasn’t been one person or organization; everyone has stepped up.”
- Magnet for Entrepreneurship
Among the neighborhoods in District 6 are Pine Hills, Orlo Vista, Ivey Lane, Washington Shores, West Oak Ridge, Eagle’s Nest, and Richmond Heights. A common thread that exists in these areas is an entrepreneurial spirit. The Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District was created in 2011 to act as a support system to ensure businesses are thriving and also attracting new businesses to the area.
“We’re naturally very small-business friendly,” said Siplin. “There are a lot of family businesses here, and there’s a strong inclination among our residents to support these small businesses.”
- Barnett Park
The signature park of Pine Hills, Barnett Park, is home to Lawne Lake, a professional BMX track, disc golf course, biking and nature trails, sports fields, dog parks and event pavilions. It is also adjacent to the Central Florida Fairgrounds, which hosts concerts and trade events throughout the year. Barnett Park has also recently become a staging area for COVID-19 rapid testing.
“Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for people to go outside, simply walk and get some fresh air, and Barnett Park provides this option,” said Siplin. “The park has always been a staple of this community.”
- Cultural Diversity
District 6 is rich with culture, from I-Drive to Holden Heights. Pine Hills, for example, is one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Orlando, with a large Caribbean population that includes Haitians, Jamaicans and Puerto Ricans, as well as a large Asian population of Vietnamese, Koreans and Cambodians. “Our slogan is ‘many cultures, one bright future,” said Siplin.
“Culture is the bedrock of this community because it transcends race and language, and is inviting to everyone. You can always enjoy ethnic foods and attend cultural events when you come here; it’s like traveling to a different country.”
For more on District 6 and Commissioner Victoria P. Siplin, go to the Orange County website.
Do you want to know what District you reside in and who your Commissioner is? Visit ocfl.net/bcc and type your street address and you can find your Orange County Commissioner.
Photo cutline: Pre-COVID pandemic: Residents participating in a community celebration in District 6’s Barnett Park.