Children painting at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. (Ruben Almeida, Spectrum News)

Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Orange County’s District 5

Community & Services

Orange County is home to six districts that each has a distinct personality when it comes to history, natural beauty, parks and recreation options, resident diversity and business opportunities. District 5 Commissioner Emily Bonilla gave us her Top 5 things to know about her district:

Orange County Commissioner Districts

1.   The Arts (Winter Park and Maitland)

District 5 is a haven for the arts, particularly in Winter Park and Maitland. Winter Park boasts the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, Annie Russell Theatre at Rollins College, Bach Festival Society in Winter Park, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park Playhouse and Crealdé School of Art. Maitland is home to the Maitland Art Center, Art & History Museums cultural institution, Maitland Rotary Art Festival and Spring Festival of the Arts.

2.   Colleges and Universities

With Rollins College, University of Central Florida, ITT Technical Institute, DeVry University, Florida Institute of Technology, Valencia College, Full Sail University, Barry University and Florida Technical College all with either main campuses or satellite locations in District 5, a plethora of higher educational options exist for those interested in intellectual pursuits.

3.   Trails

In District 5, Hal Scott Preserve provides miles of unspoiled sanctuary trails for hiking along the scenic shoreline of the Econlockhatchee River and Hidden Pond Preserve provides a unique opportunity for viewing Florida’s marvelous native flora and fauna. Visitors to Charles Bronson State Forest, Long Branch, Pine Lily Preserve and Savage Christmas Creek Preserve can hike or horseback ride on miles of trails.

Orlando Wetlands Park, maintained by the City of Orlando, consists of hiking trails around marshes and lakes, with views of wildlife.

4.   Fort Christmas Historic Park

On December 25, 1837, a force of 2,000 U.S. Army Soldiers and Alabama Volunteers arrived in Central Florida (in what is now District 5) to construct a fort which was aptly named Fort Christmas. The fort was one of more than 200 forts built during the Second Seminole Indian War, which took place between 1835 and 1842. Today, this historic park houses exhibits and a video presentation on the Seminole Indian Wars.

5.   College Park

College Park is a distinct neighborhood within District 5 that derived its name from the many streets within its bounds that were named for institutions of higher learning, such as Princeton, Harvard and Yale. In the late 1800s, citrus grower John Ericsson built the first known home in College Park in the middle of what was then an 80-acre orange grove, and other settlers soon followed. Its close proximity to downtown, charming homes and “neighborhood” feel have made it a popular residential area for over a century among seniors and young professionals.

For more on District 5 and Commissioner Emily Bonilla, go to the Orange County website.

Do you want to know what District you reside in and who your Commissioner is? Visit and type your street address and you can find your District and Orange County Commissioner.

Photo cutline: Children painting at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. (Ruben Almeida, Spectrum News)

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