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Orlando Health to open $30M hospital off Osceola Parkway

By Charlie Reed
For the News-Gazette
Osceola Parkway already has a dramatic new look on the west side of the bridge leading to Florida’s Turnpike and into Buenaventura Lakes.
Dozens of acres of undeveloped land on the north side of the toll road have been cleared, and construction is underway on the SunRail station and on Orlando Health’s new satellite hospital that will be adjacent to the new public transportation center.
By early 2019, the parcel, formerly owned by Tupperware, will be a hub of new activity.
“It’s really a perfect example of transit-oriented development,” said County Commissioner Viviana Janer. “Public transportation usually doesn’t pay for itself, so these types of projects are vital.”
The three-story, 60,000-square-foot Orlando Health site now under construction has a $30 million price tag and is expected to create 650 new jobs, according to hospital and county officials.  More importantly, it will bring much-needed medical services to Osceola’s booming population, Janer said. “The ER services are critically important with all the growth in our county,” she said.
The Osceola County Commission, in a 3-2 vote in November, imposed a six-month moratorium on new construction to strategize smart growth initiatives to better fund roads, schools and other public services that for years have lacked sufficient funding to keep up with the population boom.
Janer, who voted to impose the moratorium along with Commissioners Brandon Arrington and Fred Hawkins, said the new SunRail station and Orlando Health center will not only transform that section of the Osceola Parkway corridor but also serve an example of how Osceola should grow.
The 14-acre medical center includes an emergency room and two floors of doctors including primary care, ob/gyn, cardiology and pediatric physicians. The ER will have full ambulatory services and a helipad to transport critical patients to Dr. Phillips Hospital, the larger Orlando Health facility with which the new site will be affiliated.
It will be Orlando Health’s first free-standing site in Osceola County. The nonprofit Central Florida hospital chain already owns a portion of St. Cloud Regional Medical center.
“Increasing access to healthcare is a big deal for us,” said Thibaut van Marcke, president of Dr. Phillips Hospital.
It’s being designed to meet both current and future needs of the community, he said.
Orlando Health approached Tupperware about buying the parcel, once covered with trees and now ready for the 130 tons of steel and 4,100 cubic tons of concrete that will soon stand in their place.
“Now you can see the vision we have here,” said Matt Taylor, vice president of asset strategy for Orlando Health.
The hospital paid full market value for the land, Taylor said, but Tupperware already had planned much of the site in anticipation of selling it.
“They were actually surprised we came to them,” Taylor said. “But it made great sense for us and we’ve really enjoyed the support of Tupperware and the county on this.”
Tupperware Brands land subsidiary developed The Loop and other retail and residential locations in the area near its international headquarters on Orange Blossom Trail. The company is also widening Orange Avenue in the area to a four-lane, divided highway.
Construction of the new ER and medical pavilion is expected be finished in early 2019.
Orlando Health has hospitals in seven Florida counties, employees 18,000 workers and annually treats two million Florida residents and 4,500 tourists.

Osceola County Wins Big in Tallahassee!

My first legislative session as Chair, I am extremely excited to announce that we have successfully secured the funding for our priority projects for Osceola County. Now this funding will go to the governors office for his signature!

Funded: $15 Million – Florida Advanced Manufacturing Center (Sensor Project)
Funded: $12 Million – Valencia College Poinciana Campus (College Station)
Funded: $4 Million – Osceola County School Construction
Funded: $750K – Lake Toho Northern Everglades Project
Janer: “The State of The County is Strong”

Osceola State of The County Address

Osceola Gazette By Ken Jackson

Staff Writer

At the opening of Thursday’s fourth annual State of the County Address, Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce Chairman John Newstreet told the hundreds in attendance at Osceola Heritage Park – with thousands of others next door to welcome Democratic Presidential hopefully Bernie Sanders – that they would “hear some great things about Osceola County.” Keynote speaker and County Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer would not disappoint. With a population expected to reach 681,000 by 2040, and pass Seminole County by 2030, growth on multiple fronts and the planning for it are in a passing gear, she said.

“Those are big numbers, but we have big plans that will touch everybody in the county as we build a new Osceola County for the future,” she said. “There is no doubt the state of Osceola County is strong.” Janer pointed to 2017 when the UCF Therapeutic Equestrian Research Center, Poinciana Parkway, Valencia College, Poinciana College and the main event, the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center will all be fully open. “Osceola County is the 19th fastest growing county according to figures, and it has recovered its pre-recession economic activity,” she said, also noting Osceola had recorded a higher GDP than Orange, Seminole, Brevard and Polk counties. “The first three months of our fiscal year have been strong.” If the county is the universe, the center of it would be FAMRC, which is coming out of the ground on the Judge Farm property south of Osceola Heritage Park and east of Kissimmee.

“It is grabbing world-wide attention,” Janer said. “It marks a further diversification of our economy from its long-time base of tourism and agriculture, and will help us compete in a global sensor research market with the help of our private and university partners.” But as economic drivers, agriculture and tourism aren’t getting moved aside by science. Over $109 million in agricultural products, mostly heads of cattle, were sold in 2015, and the county was recently annointed the “vacation home capital of the world,” Janer said. “Experience Kissimmee is building on that, and its place in social media,” she said, congratulating EK for becoming the world’s fourth travel marketing arm to reach 1 million Facebook fans. The people who visit the area, along with the hundreds of thousands who live where those people vacation, will find it a little easier to get around, at least that’s the plan. The widening of Poinciana Boulevard and Narcoossee Road were completed recently, restoring Thacker Avenue will soon begin, and the county’s second toll road, Poinciana Parkway, is slated to open April 30 to provide a new way to get in and out of the Poinciana area.

Those roads open up new areas for development in all directions. With Osceola County being the place where Central Florida will grow to – it has most of the last remaining empty space – Janer said the county must take the lead in planning. Long-range sector plans for the North East District and the North Ranch Sector Plan provide for protected growth and set aside ample land for permanent preservation. “We are planning our way to prosperity,” she said. Prosperity means having an affordable home for new residents to be able to buy, and addressing the county’s homelessness. The county purchased the Yates property north of U.S. Highway 192 and east of Old Vineland Road in order to build up to 200 units of affordable housing, in order to further work on the plight of families living in extended stay motels. With a construction manager in place for that housing, the county committed $1 million to the topic, including buying the land.

Viviana Janer elected Chair of Osceola Commission

Orlando Observer – Frank Torres

During Monday’s meeting of the Osceola Board of County Commissioners, Viviana Janer was elected the Chairperson of the Commission, becoming the first Hispanic Female commissioner to do so.

“This is such an honor and a privilege” said Janer “I look forward to the year ahead. We’re on a good roll here in Osceola with getting things done and we’re going to continue that moving forward.”

She takes over for Commissioner Brendan Arrington who served as Chairman of the Commission for 2015. The Board has taken up several big issues in the county including increases on expenditures tied to infrastructure, equality ordinances, and attempting to raise the living wage. Osceola county continues to grow with it’s neighbors in the region and has been working on initiatives in transportation, development, and tourism with Orange and Seminole counties.

Janer was first elected in 2014, and also serves on several regional boards including Metroplan Orlando and the tourism development council. District 4 Commissioner Cheryl Grieb was elected Vice-Chair.

Osceola County Students Receive Scholarships

Osceola County, Fla – Twenty Osceola County students were recognized with scholarships on October 6 as part of a Celebration of Hispanic Heritage held at Tupperware Brands headquarters. “It was exciting because we recognized outstanding students and, thanks to the Education Foundation of Osceola County, were able to award $20,000 in scholarships that will help them pursue their goals,” said County Commissioner Viviana Janer. The event was held in conjunction with Tupperware Brands and the Education Foundation of Osceola County – and included cultural music and dance.

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 through October 15. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded what was originally a week-long celebration started by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. National Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to honor and celebrate the rich cultural contributions and traditions of the Hispanic-American community.
“As Hispanics, we love our country. Making America great hasn’t always been easy or inclusive. We’ve accomplished this through hard work and the sweat of our labor,” said Janer. “We’ve fought, bled and died for it – knowing that as Americans we share a set of common values.”

“I’m a huge believer in education, so it is really important to me that this year’s event focused on the youth of our community,” Janer concluded.