- Central Florida
s threatening often.
Although the exact area can be disputed, Central Florida tends to be thought of as the area including Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Brevard, and Volusia counties. Polk, Flagler, and Sumter counties are considered by some, including the local media, to be part of Central Florida. Although geographically in the central part of the state, usually the west central coast, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties, is considered the
Tampa Bayarea or the Suncoast, rather than a part of Central Florida. This area is known as the I-4 corridor.
In 2007, the estimated total population of the Central Florida region was just over 3.8 million people. Central Florida is a particularly unique region of Florida because it blends the traditional culture of the
Deep Southwhich is experienced in the rural areas, with the typical "Florida" culture that is dominated by national and international migration.
For the last couple of decades, continuous heavy growth in the region, coupled with a lack of growth management has led to massive
urban sprawlin the area. Outdated and unplanned transit infrastructure and traffic congestion is a growing concern. Local governments, long at odds with each other over growth, have now started taking a more regional approach and several transportation initiatives are now taking shape. As a result, the Central Florida Region is playing "catch-up" with massive road projects, such as the SR 408 (East-West Expressway) and Interstate 4expansions and the Central Florida Commuter Railset to open in 2009. A local citizens planning board, [http://www.myregion.org/ MyRegion.org] , is steadily becoming an active voice in Regional planning and communication.
The area's biggest attractions include
Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios Florida, Kennedy Space Center, Cypress Gardens, Bok Tower Gardens, Daytona International Speedwayand Gatorland. Because of the large number of tourists who visit Central Florida every year, the area is home to not only numerous discount and factory outlet centers, but several major upscale shopping malls, bringing in the more sophisticated travelers and higher end residents. As a result, several major designers from Chanelto Louis Vuittonhave shops in Orlando, most of which are located at the The Mall at Millenia. Central Florida has recently made great strides to diversify the economy. The Orlando area is poised to become a major medical research center with the University of Central Floridabuilding a medical school, the Burnham Institute building a major biomedicalresearch facility and a new Veterans Administrationhospital all set to open by the end of the decade. All of the aforementioned facilities will be located in the Lake Nonaarea and will collectively be referred to as Medical City. See the article Orlando, Floridafor more detailed information regarding the local economy.
Central Florida also has a wide variety of natural attractions including the
St. Johns River, the Ocklawaha River, the Econlockhatchee River, Canaveral National Seashore, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refugeand over 1,500 lakes and ponds. The region also boasts an extensive network of recreational trails (jogging, biking, equestrian, etc). While many connections are already in place construction continues on eventually linking all of the hundreds of miles of trailsand greenways being developed by each county. Major trails include the Cady Way, Cross Seminole and West Orange Trails, and the Central Florida Zoo, The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardensis located north of Orlando, Florida near the city of Sanford. [ [http://www.centralfloridazoo.org/ Welcome to the Central Florida Zoo] "Central Florida Zoo.com"] The zoo hosts several annual events, including a Halloween Zoo Bash and a Breakfast with Santa. [ [http://orlando.about.com/od/animals/a/centflzoo_2.htm Central Floria Zoo] "About.com"]
* [http://www.floridakiss.com Kissimmee Convention & Visitors Bureau, Osceola County]
* [http://www.ucf.edu University of Central Florida]
* [http://flhurricane.com/ Central Florida Hurricane Center]
* [http://www.trails.com/activity.asp?area=13773 Trails.com List of Central Florida Trails]
* [http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/community_altamonte_blog/ Altamonte Springs Community Blog]
* [http://www.aroundcentralflorida.com/communities/ Around Central Florida community pages]
* [http://www.ItsYourSale.com/ Central Florida Free MLS Real Estate Search]
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