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COLUMN

Council Watch

Billy Manes paying attention to local government so you don't have to

Item: The city accepts a deed for acquisition of one parcel of land from the United States Department of the Interior National Park Service along the southeast corner of Lake Druid. Translation: The ancient druids that mysteriously pushed all of the Naval interests out of Orlando – leaving us with something called Baldwin Park on one side of town and a rundown dump on the other – have finally conspired with the federal and local governmental authorities to turn over their last 6.63-acre parcel, creepily known as Area C, so that it can be used as a public park for those who like to ride bicycles in mud that might still have lead (or worse, bombs) in it. This is the part in Poltergeist where you slip into the unfinished pool and die, right?

Item: The city approves the sale of the former OUC administration building by the city and OUC to GDC Properties LLC.

Translation: Just two months ago, the city approved another development deal with New York-based GDC Properties to develop a mid-rise mixed-used nightmare at the corner of Marks Street and North Orange Avenue, a development that was reported at the time to be GDC’s only Orlando concern. Now, by some serendipity, GDC is looking to take over the sad old 11,000-square-foot OUC building where you used to take your lost-in-the-mail power bills and cry. The city wants to make it clear that this $2.8 million transaction, which is slated to bring a rather large hotel into the City Hall concourse (think of DPAC!), is not its business, even though it co-owns the land with OUC via our municipal utility deflection scheme. But the city does care enough to argue that $2.8 million is a really good deal, especially considering that the other high bidders quietly dropped out of the running. This doesn’t sound fishy at all.

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