Winter Park’s first female mayor talks to WFTV about the city’s future

WINTER PARK, Fla. — Sheila DeCiccio described the day after her landslide election victory as a whirlwind, leaving little time to think about her new title as Winter Park’s mayor-elect or the fact that she shattered the city’s final glass ceiling.


“Clean up,” she recalled, laughing. “Signs all over the city.”

DeCiccio will assume the role as the face of her city in just a few weeks, taking over one of Central Florida’s most iconic towns.

Her victory represented the voters’ approval of the direction of the city, as she currently serves as vice mayor. Park Avenue, the city’s main street, is booming. Signs of prosperity are on every street corner. Citizens practically line up for every new store that comes in.

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Winter Park is also at a crossroads that DeCiccio is more than aware of. Orlando’s urban sector is sprawling out toward city limits. The lack of space to grow means the city must build up – often to the dismay of current residents.

For people trying to move in, Winter Park is one of the least affordable places to live, with many homes in the millions of dollars. The area’s historic Black west side is shrinking in favor of mini mansions with every home sale.

DeCiccio says the growth management is about push and pull, especially given the limitations of government.

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“Our challenge is to make sure development isn’t overreaching on what we have,” she said.

Her agenda is oriented around infrastructure, including filling gaps in sidewalks, and replacing 100-year-old water pipes to ease flooding and potholes in the brick streets.

She says her government will continue to work with the state on upgrading SR 426 – commonly known as Fairbanks Avenue – to address resident complaints.

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She is also looking forward to the opening of Seven Oaks Park, slated for this summer, that will help tie Orange Avenue’s business sector into Mead Garden, bringing more people and businesses south of Park Avenue.

“We want to continue to develop it with its own personality,” she said.

A special runoff to replace DeCiccio’s current commission seat will be held on April 16.

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