Washington (May 23, 2016) The National Main Street Center, Inc. announced today that Audubon Park in Orlando, Florida has been chosen as a 2016 Great American Main Street Award® (GAMSA) winner. Audubon Park Garden District (APGD) received the award at the 2016 Main Street Now Conference held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“We are incredibly proud APGD has been recognized as one of the country’s best examples of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “This award is a testament to what can be accomplished when residents and business owners come together to create a shared vision for their neighborhood, transforming it into a vibrant district that is now home to popular small businesses and host to favored events that draw thousands of visitors. The district, which has become known to have one of the most unique personalities of any neighborhood in Orlando, is also an economic engine creating new jobs and opportunities for residents.”

Developed post-World War II, Audubon Park was long defined by a wide, four-lane commercial main drag dotted with suburban strip malls. Under Audubon Park Garden District’s leadership, that corridor is now flourishing with small businesses, pollinator gardens and events that stand in stark contrast to bland suburban sprawl. With the Main Street Approach as its guide, Audubon Park Garden District has emerged as a hip place to be. The redevelopment of a foreclosed church into a nationally recognized food and culture hub, a thriving shopping and dining scene and a retro modern home tour are just a few of the attractions that make this neighborhood one of America’s best.

“Audubon Park is to be commended for reinventing itself as the home of several destination-worthy small businesses and the epicenter of Orlando’s good food movement, while also pioneering green practices for businesses and commercial districts,” says Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “APGD’s skill in providing low-cost, high-touch support to its small businesses has paid huge dividends, driving retail vacancy rates to just 2 percent. They should take great pride in creating such an inviting place for people to live, shop, and open businesses.”

Other hallmarks of Audubon Park Garden District’s success include the creation of 521 new jobs since 2009, the rehabilitation of two abandoned buildings into showpieces, and the district’s efforts to secure $3.5 million in private investment. The $3 million East End Market project to create Orlando’s only urban market brought twenty new businesses and over 100 new jobs to the area.

“As part of our inaugural class of Orlando’s Main Streets, the Audubon Park Garden District continues to grow a strong, close-nit community, dedicated to sustainability in every way,” said City of Orlando District 3 Commissioner Robert F. Stuart. “From supporting a vibrant, eclectic small business network, involving their residential component in numerous partnerships, creating a community garden and market, advocating for composting, creatively promoting themselves as a must-visit destination, and fashioning a cohesive, eye-catching, green brand, APGD has been an example of what public and private partnerships can do to help communities and small business.”

ando.net ]


Like it or not (and we will gladly assume the former), womens issues are finally pushing to the forefront of the American conversation. How could they not in this historic campaign season where one presumptive major party candidate is female and the other is accusing her of “playing the woman’s card”? Two questions are rapidly becoming ubiquitous topics of debate:

  • Where do you get those cool Woman Cards, anyhow?
  • Can women in the workplace really and truly have it all?

Because, after all, a great career, a happy family, and some occasional “me time” in between have long been cherished and quintessentially American goals. But for many women, they haven’t always been so easy to achieve.

The widely quoted statistic that women make 79 cents to every dollar earned by men only tells part of the tale. A Pew Research Center survey found that, among parents with at least some work experience, mothers were about three times as likely as fathers to say that having children made it harder for them to advance in their job or career.

Clearly, when it comes to HIA (having it all), not all cities are the same. As Mother’s Day fast approaches (Don’t panic, you still have five days to order flowers! Do it now. We’ll wait.), we set out to find where in the U.S. a working mom can thrive in her career, find good opportunities for her kids, get ample  help with child care, and afford to put down roots in her community.

We ranked U.S. cities based on the following criteria:

  • Career opportunity: Employment rate of women who have children; median women’s salary; women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s; ratio of female to male top executives; flexibility of work schedule, measured by the average length of women’s workday and the percentage of women working at home.
  • Care for children: Number of day care facilities for every child under age 5; number of good schools (receiving a rating of 8 to 10 from GreatSchools.org) for every child under age 18; number of pediatric specialists for every child under age 18; average baby sitter rates.
  • Affordability: Median home price on realtor.com®.

1. ando, FL

Median salary of full-time female workers: $35,518

Percentage of men’s salary: 95%

Median home price: $211,000

Forget that famous 79% figure—women in this city are just 5% shy of full earnings parity with men, according to American Community Survey. Often tagged as a vacation destination (and, less charitably, oppressor of orcas), Orlando is home to a thriving and diverse business scene, and many companies here proudly tout their focus on female employees’ well-being.

The region’s largest employer, Walt Disney Co., offers free theme park admission, plus discounts on hotels and merchandise, so employees and their families can enjoy the “Happiest Place on Earth” as much as visitors do.The local branch of global consulting firm Protiviti, has an iGrowth initiative that homes in on the recruiting, retention, development, and promotion of women.

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