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Aramendia Wants To Attract More Private Investment, Stresses Sustainable Development In Casselberry

casselberry, city of casselberry, casselberry city commissioner anthony aramendia, anthony aramendia, seminole county news, news seminole county, seminole county post, jacob engels,

Casselberry City Commissioner (Seat 1) Anthony Aramendia talks with us about improving Casselberry, his love for the environment and more.

 

By Jacob Engels

 

As a City Commissioner, what do you view as the most important thing you can do to positively impact the community?

 

Encouraging and supporting a transformation of the city from a lack of private investment to an “it place” for private investment. Casselberry needs new shopping, eating and destination style business venues. The city can streamline its expenses and spend money in areas that attract investment. I want people to have a positive view of the city’s transformation.

 

Since your appointment to the commission in 2011, what do you view as your most important accomplishment...and what is the most difficult problem you have faced so far?

 

My most important and difficult accomplishment was negotiating with the full city commission and the selected developers of the city center for a much better developer's agreement. We achieved the following: saving the police and public works buildings, sharing road and infrastructure costs that would have been born by the taxpayers, saving the city hall campus from multi-family intrusion. We developed requirements for sit-down restaurants — not drive thrus — and protected the taxpayers by prohibiting the developers from flipping the contract.

 

You are involved in planning the annual EarthFest event. Why is the environment, sustainability and conservation so important to you?

 

Casselberry has an opportunity to define itself as a leader in Seminole County when it comes to the environment. We have many lakes that compliment our central core. Over the years, homeowners have moved in to take advantage of the water views and green spaces. Casselberry is a standout municipality among it’s neighboring cities as it relates to waterways and green space. Many residents have told me they think the blue and green areas need enhancing. I agree and am positive on redevelopment that incorporates green environmental initiatives that will strategically work around the lakes and green space.

 

I believe that those looking to invest in Casselberry will be attracted to redevelop in a sustainable way. Also, earth friendly developments encourage the public to connect to the areas natural environment and encourages walking, biking and recreational activities. In short, it’s about improving the quality of life for the residents.

 

How did you first get involved with EarthFest?

 

Back in 2009, after visiting a few Earth Day events of neighboring communities, I saw there was an opportunity to create a large venue where everyone is able to participate and celebrate the beautiful world we live in. After discussing it with Bill Hufford, president of “Casselberry’s Friends of the Park” (which I serve currently as it’s vice-president) - we teamed up with Michael Barr who headed “Keep Seminole Beautiful” and worked in conjunction to bring the event to the City of Casselberry, at our environmentally friendly and award winning Lake Concord Park. A year after its success, Michael Barr passed away and Mary Sue Weinaug of Wekiva Island took the reigns. We have been working together as a team ever since. Everyone has helped grow the event to a point that we have reached capacity at our park, so we have expanded the time to an all-day event including a night concert portion to better serve the needs of event goes.

 

What is the City of Casselberry bringing to the table with this years event?

 

This year, we are implementing another component into our event and hosting the largest hybrid/electric car show in Central Florida during the event. A well known musician will headline the concert portion, and several local musicians will perform before. Additionally, it’s the city’s 75th Anniversary, so we will be highlighting all of our community venues with information about their historical significance. The City of Casselberry will also be making a very important announcement (which I’m not yet at liberty to say), pertaining to it’s own “green initiatives”.

 

As a City Commissioner, what are your top priorities in 2015? Individually, what do you have your sights set on?

 

The city commission set our goals during it’s planning workshop last year. Thanks to the support of other commissioners, we’ll be working on many enhancements to our community in 2015. Finishing the town center development, ushering in new dining establishments, residential revitalization, business core enhancements, community identification, planning our new safety facility complex, C.R.A. extension, neighborhood trail/connectivity, and improving quality of life for our residents. Rather than just ONE initiative, I focus on the whole picture.

 

Favorite band, film and TV show?

 

Madonna, American Beauty, and Revenge. I am all caught up on American Horror Story thanks to Netflix, and that is a new favorite - though I still need to watch the season that just wrapped up.

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

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