Orlampa: The Merging Of Two Cities
Ten years ago, surrounded by old orange groves, Kermit Weeks built an aviation themed history attraction and planted a sign along Interstate 4: Future Site of Downtown Orlampa. The notion of a metro corridor linking the two cities is now no longer a dream. University of Florida researchers say that Polk County, which sits between the two cities, could gain as many as 240,000 people in the next 25 years -- the equivalent of relocating Jersey City, N.J. into the county.
For many moving to the region, the draw is a chance to buy a bigger house -- or any house at all, as prices in Tampa and Orlando soar beyond the reach of teachers, police officers, social workers and retirees. For some, it's one of the rare places a person can still buy a rural life - acreage for a horse and barn, something unheard of in urban Orange County and Orlando, 40 miles away. And for others, the lure is jobs.
How long it will take for the I-4 corridor to build out remains a guess. The University of Pennsylvania Urban Design Studio is creating models of alternative futures within the corridor -- the PennDesign Central Florida Alternatives Future study -- and these show Polk County developing about 335 more square miles by 2050. Plan results will be released in January.
Thanks to Sheryl Stolzenberg