Me: “I grew up in Lockhart”
Orlando resident I’m talking to “Oh, where is that?”
And so it goes, a conversation I’ve had plenty of times right here in Central Florida about the Lockhart neighborhood.
Not quite Maitland, Eatonville, or Altamonte Springs, but also not really part of the Orlando conversation despite the address, Lockhart is in Northwestern Orange County. I went to Lockhart Elementary, Lockhart Middle, played at Northwest Little League and went to the Rimar drive-in.
It’s “a thing”, I promise you.
But this neighborhood has been forgotten. Besides some industrial areas, there are no signature operations business operations there. The place was actually developed to capacity back in the 80s and 90s, so it’s seldom a part of the development conversation. Another big factor is that there are no high schools there, with students going to Wekiva, or back in the day Edgewater, Evans, or Apopka, like me.
In over a decade of living Orlando politics every day of my life, there have been less than half a dozen notable political events hosted there. Rick Scott kicked off his senate campaign in the area and you could argue that’s the biggest event that’s happened in the area in the modern era.
Luckily we do have a small blip in the radar of Orlando news for Lockhart. A new history mural is being dedicated there this weekend.
Orange County Commissioner Christine Moore “believes the mural represents the start of a “new Lockhart” as she seeks to create a thriving “downtown” district that includes businesses, attainable housing, and access to the new Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail” according to a release.
Goodness, I hope so.
The Lockhart community is full of longtime residents to Orlando. Sadly, they’ve been left behind in the modernization that’s taking place everywhere else. If changes are coming they’re up the street in Maitland, which isn’t far but it’s not theirs.
Let’s try to truly embrace what this great neighborhood is moving forward and not try to cram everything downtown or on the west side. We have great potential in Lockhart.
It’s just sitting there waiting for us to realize it.