Officials work to clean up 'Gateway to Orlando' area



ORLANDO, Fla. - The Bellagio Apartments on Semoran Boulevard has become the focus of the cleanup efforts to improve the area, which has been called the "Gateway to Orlando" because it’s one of the first things people see when they leave the airport.

Code enforcement officials with the city of Orlando are taking their plans to revitalize the area into apartment complexes first.

"Semoran is certainly the gateway into our community. The housing component is certainly an important piece,” said Mike Rhodes with Orlando Code Enforcement.

Officials inspected the Bellagio Apartments after getting tipped off from tenants.

Inspectors said they found dangerous conditions such as rotting wood on balconies, exposed wires, unpermitted repair work, and problems with gutters and rodents.

"There is some indication that there have been squirrels and rats getting into the buildings in some of the holes we found around the property,” Rhodes said.

They also said the pool wasn’t secured properly, making drowning a hazard.

There were more than 20 violations.

Along with trying to clean up apartment complexes, the city passed ordinances banning numerous businesses, including pawn shops, small car dealerships, tattoo parlors and fortune tellers.

Residents said they are happy to see improvements.

“They’ve been face-lifting a lot of places in the Conway area and it really looks good,” said resident Sandy Finne.

The Bellagio Apartments owners have 60 days to fix the problems or they could face fines.