Dear Poinciana Citizens:
Welcome to February, the shortest month of the year but one of great celebrations such as the American Heart Month and Black History Month. Knowing, commemorating and celebrating the many contributions our ancestors built, makes history exceptionally rich. History is a permanent written record of the past. Knowing the history of a city, town, or county is an essential learning tool for every citizen in order to share, understand and appreciate the vision of the future. When you understand the richness of the legacy in which a town was founded, you become more “connected” to historic preservation and look forward to the formation of its future. Poinciana is one saturated with rich history and yet an enormous future growth projection.
As a brief overview of its foundation, let us travel back in time to learn more about this great part of your community. In November 1971, Golf American Corporation (GAC) announced plans for a 47,000 acre community that we know as Poinciana. During the summer of that year, construction began on five initial “Cypress Point” model homes. On March 1973, Poinciana’s “First Family”, Tom and Ruth Sullivan, were welcomed by Osceola County Commissioner Bill Beck and a group of local press. This family was quickly followed by other families that joined in the community. To highlight some features, the 18-hole golf course and the $1.5 million Golf & Racquet Club opened in May. In 1974, many organizations were initiated such as the Ladies’ Club of Poinciana and Teen Club as population began to increase. As a vital part of the community, Poinciana’s Volunteer Fire Department was organized and the Community Center opened. The first locally owned restaurant was the “Sub Shop” in the Doverplum Shopping Center. In July 1977, GAC planned on spending $60 million dollars in the next five years to develop and enlarge Poinciana. By 1978, population of Poinciana reached 1,000, in 1979 several businesses opened, and by 1980 the Poinciana Golf Villas Homeowners’ Association was reorganized and named Avatar Holdings, Inc.
Transportation was as an important factor as it is today and by 1981, Poinciana residents, together with Avatar officials and local citizens witnessed the dedication of the long awaited Poinciana Boulevard extension which connects U.S. 192 West of Kissimmee to U.S. 17-92 at the Poinciana Industrial Park. New construction could be seen in all directions and the community continued to grow at a steady pace. As of September 2006, there are an estimated 63,000 residents in Poinciana (38,000 in Osceola County and 25,000 in Polk County). It is an ever expanding community with new amenities such as Quizno’s, Starbuck’s, Pollo Tropical, Walmart, Chili’s, Bravo Supermarket and a Post Office.
In reviewing these historical facts, one can better understand how the community has grown during these past years and the many growing pains Poinciana has endured over time. Today, progression continues in the area with new developments, projects and on-going growth.
The most important and recent venture is the recent state approval to Osceola Regional Medical Center to build a hospital in Poinciana. After many years of hard work, letters of support, and consistent requests, and effort from many agencies involved, this needed medical facility will soon be a reality. Senator Paula Dockery, Rep. Frank Attkisson, the Osceola County Commission and various health care providers, partnered and did not give up in obtaining approval for the acute-care hospital that will service Polk and Osceola County residents. The approximate cost for the Poinciana Hospital is nearly $114 million. We are very excited about this milestone as it is an essential piece of building a strong and safe community.
As you can see, you had a community being built by a number of developers in over a short period of time. With so much sprawling growth, everyone wanted to move to Poinciana. Today, it is one of the fastest growing communities in the nation and it is imperative that we respond to the impacts of development. Our new Comprehensive Plan approved by Department of Community Affairs (DCA), is an essential tool for allowing us to provide adequate infrastructure while protecting our environmental resources. We used areas such as Poinciana in developing our new Comprehensive Plan so we are using the past to better plan for the future. Residential and commercial growth will intensify but we are prepared to respond to the changing needs and conditions effectively managing services such as mass transit, water resources, parks and recreation, and fire/rescue, among others.
This month on Presidents’ Day, we honor and remember the leaders of our land for their vision and courage. On this federal holiday observed in the United States on the third Monday of February, let us celebrate our freedom and the spirit of leadership while looking at this day as a tribute to our service men and women for defending our liberty. Osceola County offices will be open on this day.
If I can be of assistance to you, feel free to contact me at my office, my cell phone 407.301.3086 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are welcome to visit my office at the Association of Poinciana Villages Office. To schedule an appointment, please contact Iris Soto at 407.343.2206 or email her at email@example.com.
Ken Shipley, Chairman
Commissioner District 3