Last week was an exciting occasion for The Allen Morris Company as we cut the ribbon on our 82nd development project: Maitland City Centre (MCC), in Maitland, Florida, just north of Orlando. The ribbon cutting was especially meaningful to me because I felt as though we had been given a sacred trust by the people of this beautiful central Florida city to create a downtown for them when none before existed. This new center of town would define their city for the next 50 to 100 years.
As exciting as a new city center can be, I realize that it is often difficult for people nearby to adjust to changes in a community that is already beautiful. It’s not easy to visualize how their city could possibly be better, and it is scary to think that the changes might actually compromise something that is nice the way it is. In the case of Maitland, there were skeptics at the start, such as Maitland Mayor Dale McDonald. At the ribbon cutting ceremony he pulled me aside to say that he had had great reservations and concerns about what we would be building. He even spoke out against aspects of our project early on at city meetings. It can be hairy for community leaders, especially, to embrace a new, bold vision based on renderings of a proposed project and to trust that big changes can be transformational for a city. Yet Mayor McDonald told me that he never knew it would be this beautiful or that it would change the community so dramatically for the better. Maitland has a whole new dynamic and vibe. It’s a new city, and even better than it was before! The truth is I almost wanted to cry for joy.
I wanted to shout, “YES! We did it!” We really did Inspire the people of Maitland with the beauty of our project, Impress them with the excellence of our services, and Improve the lives of everyone we touched. Inspire, Impress, and Improve are not just empty “mission statement” words on our website and on our stationery. They represent what we live for.
Here’s a 60-second video of that event in which you can hear Mayor McDonald in his own words.