1. Tinker Field
When Orlando city officials revealed that their plans to renovate the janky old Citrus Bowl would mean curtains for Tinker Field – the historic but dilapidated baseball field where Martin Luther King Jr. made his only appearance in Orlando in 1964 – there was a small but vocal uproar. Mayor Buddy Dyer and City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, in particular, went head-to-head over the fate of the field (in November, Sheehan told WFTV that the mayor's staff threatened her political career if she continued to fight him on this subject). Dyer temporarily tabled plans to level the field, and we've alternately heard that there are plans to preserve part of the field, that a new and improved field could be constructed nearby in honor of Tinker Field, or that there's just no hope and historic Tinker Field will simply become history, its outfield turned into a parking lot.
2. Rethink the Princeton
They say you can't fight City Hall, but the members of College Park neighborhood group Rethink the Princeton don't care. In response to the city's controversial approval of a plan to build a 206-unit apartment building on a small island of land smack in the middle of two busy roadways – it's going to be built on a big median, basically – Rethink the Princeton is taking the city to court to appeal its decision. And, the group says on its Facebook page, it's "in it to win it."
3. The Yard at Ivanhoe Village
In October, business owners and residents in Ivanhoe Village began to hear rumors that a developer was planning to buy up multiple properties along Alden Road, informally considered the neighborhood's creative heart. Beloved businesses such as the Thirsty Topher bar and performing arts space the Venue would potentially be ousted from their homes. The developer told everyone not to panic – he'd attempt to make space within his project for existing businesses and creative endeavors, and he said he'd be sensitive to the neighborhood's creative character. However, people who attended a neighborhood meeting where the developer revealed his plans were startled when they saw renderings for a nine-story condo building.
4. Trader Joe's in Winter Park
Orlando area residents were frothing about the long-awaited opening of Trader Joe's and Shake Shack in Winter Park, but even before the grocery store opened its doors, it was clear that the words "traffic calming" were never uttered during the planning of this shopping center. Not only is parking in the tiny lot challenging at best (impossible at worst), traffic backs up along U.S. Route 17-92 during peak hours, causing snarls and congestion that have everyone up in arms about the next item on our list.
5. Mount Vernon Inn project
In October, Unicorp, the company behind the development of the shopping plaza where Trader Joe's is located, revealed its plans to build the Luxe, a mixed-use apartment and shopping plaza right across the street on the site of the former Mount Vernon Inn. Residents expressed concerns about the impacts on infrastructure and traffic (and lamented the loss of the Red Fox Lounge), and in November the developer agreed to scrap the plans for the apartments – restaurants and retail are still in the works.What other notable Orlando development projects do you think were controversial in 2014? Tell us about them in the comments.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.