Some in Parramore fear Orlando's Creative Village will push residents out



ORLANDO, Fla. - The aim of the Creative Village development in Orlando, according to the city of Orlando, is to bring high-paying jobs to the part of downtown where the Amway Arena used to sit. But some people who live the neighborhood are fighting the project.

City leaders have big plans for the plot of dirt where Amway Arena once sat.

The Creative Village is expected to create 5,000 high-tech jobs at its completion, according to city leaders. But it sits in the Parramore neighborhood, and some residents said they fear that it's going to push them out.

"As far as this side of town, it's poverty, and they continue to bring in high-priced development," said Parramore resident Harold Brown. "[They are] just pushing poverty people on one side of town."

Brown said he has lived in the area for 11 years and said the types of businesses the village is expected to bring won't help his family.

An organization called the Fight Back Coalition agrees with Brown. They are putting out YouTube videos and hosting town hall meetings in an effort to stop the development.

"I'm all about growth and economics, but not at the expense of the community, and that's what happened," said Lawanna Gelzer of the Fight Back Coalition.

Coalition leaders said there is already plenty of office space available downtown and there are empty lots throughout Parramore that have not been developed.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who has championed the project, wasn't available to speak to WFTV reporter Karla Ray Wednesday.

An email to Ray from Dyer's officer read:

"It is egregious to say this project is a gentrification of Parramore."

The email goes on to say that one of Dyer's "cornerstone projects has been the revitalization of the Parramore community."

Those opposed to the project disagree with the mayor.

"We're ready for the fight because at this time, the voiceless will have a voice," said Gelzer.

The Fight Back Coalition is hosting its first town hall meeting Thursday evening. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Peabo Child Care Center at 815 Hills St. in Orlando.