Residents excited about Parramore's growth, but fear being pushed out

Businesses prep for impact of Saturday's football game at Camping World Stadium

By Jerry Askin - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Fans on both sides and the city of Orlando are gearing up for this weekend, when the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes will face off at Camping World Stadium. 

Kickoff isn't until 7 p.m. Saturday but, blocks away in Parramore, residents and workers are already getting ready, too, and said they hope to feel the impact. Many business owners, specifically, said they could profit big time. 

J. Henry owns a barbershop at the corner of Parramore Avenue and Church Street. 

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"I happen to be a Miami fan. I love those Miami Hurricanes," Henry said. "I’m very happy about this weekend because you’ve got a lot of money coming into the neighborhood." 

He’s like many business owners who say they have seen the recent changes in and near Parramore. 

"When you really look at it and see how the community has been for so long, before all the changes started taking place, it’s a plus," he said.  

Henry and many others have seen a lot of new construction, more apartments and a lot of development. He said even though he’s happy about the growth in the area, big changes are on the way.  

"A lot of us are going to (be) replaced and removed out of the neighborhood probably, including me," Henry said.

He said he’s been working to be part of the change and be positive about it.

Vencina Cannady is a lifelong Parramore resident.

"We’re excited, but don’t push us out, even though we are having growth," Cannady said.   

She smiles about the growth in Parramore, but said there are now big concerns when it comes to low-income and affordable housing for residents.

"What do you do when there’s an elderly lady whose social security is not even $900 a month, and the apartments are starting at $800, $900 and $1,000, above?" Cannady asked.

Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon told News 6 there will be extra patrols at Saturday’s game. 

"We want for the venue to be welcoming to those visitors, but we also make sure that security is addressed," Rolon said.  

He's reminding residents and fans that if they see something suspicious, they should report it. 

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"Rest assured, we are going to be very mindful about any suspicious activity that we see. We are going to have access to a lot of cameras," Rolon said.   

News 6 reached out to the city of Orlando about the concerns from Parramore residents when it comes to gentrification.  

A spokesperson sent News 6 the following statement:

"The City of Orlando is committed to ensuring that every person, regardless of economic status, has access to quality housing that is safe and affordable and has been working to develop short and long-term strategies to expand the city's housing inventory for at all income levels. To accomplish this goal, the City of Orlando has and continues to make significant investments and forge new partnerships to develop and rehab quality housing units for our residents. 

In the last five years, the city has invested or committed nearly $32 million to create or preserve housing options for residents at all income levels. This includes the construction or rehabilitation of nearly 1,400 multifamily units and the construction of more than 160 new owner-occupied residences (single family residences and duplexes) that provide opportunities for residents interested in pursuing the American dream of homeownership.  

In addition, the city and its CRA have down payment assistance programs which can provide residents up to $100,000 in down payment assistance to make the homes even more affordable."

Click here for a list of specific projects recently completed, under construction or planned in the area, courtesy of city officials.

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