ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Big changes are about to take place on International Drive after Orange County commissioners approved a 25 year visioning plan. It will change the shape of I-Drive to include retail, hospitality, transportation and entertainment sub districts. "We have to change the infrastructure, we have to change the way the streets connect," said Mayor Teresa Jacobs.
The 2-and-a-half-mile stretch of the tourist district, will also include residential and business development by SeaWorld Orlando, Destination Parkway, Universal Boulevard and Rosen Shingle Creek. "I think it will be exciting and stimulating for our own local population," Jacobs added.
"They're completely leaving us out in the cold," said Dr Phillips Resident Jim Pasquinelli. He is worried about traffic getting even more congested. "We have to go through I-Drive to get to the Florida Mall. We have to go on I-4 to get to the Millenia Mall. I can't go south 535 because of Disney and all that tourist mess, so we're really trapped here."
Mayor Jacobs say parking hubs could help relieve traffic congestion. During today's meeting, Universal Orlando also spoke out about concerns along I-Drive and asked to be part of the visioning committee . Melanie Becker, Director of Governmental Affairs for Universal Orlando says,
"The numbers clearly show that our property is the major driver of visitors to this corridor. Just as staff has spent time understanding the future plans of land owners, we would have liked that opportunity as well."
But Developer Chuck Wittall of Unicorp National Developments disagrees. He owns 72 acres in the area ."It's been a very open, transparent process, it wasn't a sham. They're just not getting the result they want because they're nervous or worried there's going to be more hotels, more rides taller than their rides."
The mayor says Universal is located in the City, but I-Drive is on county property, someplace they plan to change for the better. "I'm sure there's are several things that Universal has done and the city of Orlando has done that we haven't been part of their visioning process, we're not starting the visioning process over, I think we have the right people at the table."