Orlando hopes ordinance will help clean up Semoran Blvd. outside OIA



ORLANDO, Fla. - It is called the Gateway to Orlando and is the first thing many of the 35 million people who fly into Orlando International Airport every year see when they leave the airport.
Orlando city officials admit that right now, the stretch of Semoran Boulevard leading away from the airport is not only underwhelming, but that it can be a bit of an eyesore. They said it is a far cry from how they want it to look.
"I want them to say, 'Wow, what a great city,' from the get-go," said Orlando City Commissioner Tony Ortiz.
The city has been working to clean up the road for years.
Four years ago they started working on the north of Curry Ford Road. Now they're tackling the area south of it, and are preparing to pass an ordinance that would prohibit a number of establishments, they say are bringing the area down.
Under the new rules, 11 different kinds of businesses would be banned along the strip. Pawn shops, check-cashing businesses and tattoo parlors wouldn't be allowed in the area. Psychics, tarot card readers would be banned, as would small car dealerships.
"I wouldn't say those are businesses I don't want there. I do want those businesses, I just want them to do better for themselves," said Ortiz.
Ortiz, who's been spearheading the effort, said the businesses already there would be grandfathered in.
In time leaders said they believe many of those businesses will eventually close down, helping the city create the look they want to see and want visitors to see along Semoran Boulevard.
The ordinance will go before the City Council for its first reading next week.