Homes Near Correctional Facilities In Orlando FL: Should I Be Worried?

Prisons, jails and work-release centers are prime examples of so-called unwanted land uses.  Unsurprisingly, many home buyers and Orlando Correctional Facilitesrenters try to avoid living in areas close to a correctional facility.  The reasons are not hard to imagine – prospective residents fear a higher crime rate in neighborhoods near a prison and that they might have a hard time reselling their home.  By looking at the MoversAtlas MoveMap you can see that neighborhoods close to prisons in Orlando, FL  have median income and home ownership rates slightly lower than in other areas of the community.  What’s interesting is that this link is not nearly as pronounced as might be expected.

The relationship between prisons, property values, crime rates and other statistics that affect homeowners is actually quite complex and a fair amount of debate revolves around the subject.  As we discussed earlier, most peoples’ perception is that the presence of a prison in a community lowers property values, increases the crime rate and reduces quality of life for residents.  However, at least one study conducted by Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University in conjunction with the US Department of Justice found that these beliefs are false.

The study examined 7 prisons across the country and using statistical techniques (a regression analysis) found that in all but one instance, the presence of a prison did not have a statistically significant effect on property values.  Interestingly, Realtors were also surveyed about how the presence of a prison affected their ability to sell a home.  Generally speaking, Realtors believed that correctional facilities had little to no impact on the sale price of a home and only two reported losing a sale due to the presence of a prison.

Likewise, the study found that prisons did not adversely affect residents’ quality of life or increase the crime rate (in many instances the crime rate was actually lower around prisons).  Using the median income and home ownership figures on our MoveMap as a rough indicator of neighborhood economic health seems to confirm the study’s findings.  Stay tuned, we’re working on adding parcel values to the MoveMap as well, so it will be interesting to see what actual home values look like in areas close to a correctional facility.

Now we’ll briefly discuss what types of correctional facilities are located in Orlando.  Of the 6 points you can find on the map, 5 are work release centers and 1 is the Orange County Jail.  Work release programs are designed to gradually reintegrate inmates back into the community by allowing them to work at legitimate jobs towards the end of their confinement.

Generally speaking, inmates convicted of the more serious violent crimes are not eligible for work release programs; only sufficiently trustworthy prisoners or those who can be adequately monitored are allowed to do work release (a full breakdown of who is/is not eligible can be found here:  There aren’t any perimeter fences around work release centers, but inmates have to remain at the center when not working or attending programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.  Inmates participating in work release are allowed to leave jail for a work and return to serve their time during the evenings or weekends. Below is an example of one of the work release centers in Orlando, Florida:

Bridges of Orlando is located at 2011 Mercy Drive Orlando, 32808.  It is a work release center that specializes in treating people with substance abuse issues and drug related crimes.  Their program entails interrupting chemical dependence, initiating physical and mental rehabilitation and implementing a long term recovery plan.

Jails are a bit different than work release centers as they are designed primarily to hold persons awaiting sentencing.  Work release centers on the other hand, house inmates that have already been sentenced and in many cases are near the end of their confinement.  Jails typically hold inmates for short periods of time, such as when they are awaiting a trial or serving a brief sentence of one year or less.  Counties generally operate jails.

We hope that this blog post has been informative; if you’d like to see if there are any correctional institutions in your area, check out our MoveMap.



3 Amazing Parks in the Orlando, FL Area

The Orlando area has a number of excellent parks that offer a range of activities for the whole family.  Parks are an important part of any community since they provide recreational opportunities for residents, act as a gathering place forbest parks in orlando fl events and preserve valuable open space.  In fact, homes located near well maintained parks typically enjoy higher property values for all of these reasons.  In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the best parks in Orlando, FL and what you can do in them.

1. Lake Eola Park

Perhaps the best known park in central Florida is Lake Eola Park, located right in downtown Orlando.  The park is centered on Lake Eola and boasts a paved 0.87 mile walking/jogging trail circumscribing the lake; it also has a playground and some open fields on its eastern end.  The lake itself is spring fed and famous for its swans, which are quite numerous and tame; park visitors often have to walk or jog around the swans, which refuse to give up their spot in the middle of the sidewalk.  The walking trail is popular with both residents and tourists since it provides beautiful views of downtown Orlando.  In addition to walking and jogging, park visitors can rent a swan-boat for 30 minutes ($15) and paddle around the lake.  Lake Eola Park’s central location means it also serves as a venue for many activities.  At a bare minimum, the park hosts a farmers’ market each Sunday morning.  Many miscellaneous events such as food and wine fests, movie nights and food truck meet-ups also take place in the open space area to the east.  In short, Lake Eola offers beautiful views of downtown Orlando, opportunities to exercise and plenty of events at which to eat and shop.  If you’ve never been, we recommend you check it out!

2. Wekiva Springs Park

If you’re looking for a park that’s a little more ‘natural’ but still offers a range of civilized amenities, try visiting Wekiva Springs.  Wekiva Springs Park is actually located around 10 miles north of downtown Orlando at 1800 Wekiva Cir. Apopka FL 32712.  It is expansive – encompassing around 7000 acres of wilderness, but the section that most people visit is centered on Wekiva Springs, which pumps out 42 million gallons of cool, exceptionally clear water each day!  The major activities taking place at the park include swimming, canoeing/kayaking, hiking and camping.  Wekiva Springs contains an excellent swimming area where fresh spring water ‘boils’ up from a fissure in the limestone bedrock underneath the ground.  The depth varies from just a few feet to nearly 6 and the swimming area is separated from the rest of the river, making it a popular spot for parents with young children.  Canoeing is probably the most popular activity since canoes and kayaks can be rented cheaply from within the park grounds.  The river current is mild (around 2 mph) and a variety of wildlife such as alligators, great blue herons, egrets, foxes, river otters and turtles can be seen.  Large cypress trees and other dense plant life make the river quite picturesque.  We believe another (very) important point to note is that there is a bar/restaurant named Wekiva Island around a mile downriver of the canoe launch site.  It’s an extremely popular spot with locals and offers a variety of food and drink options.  It’s family friendly, but does tend to get a bit rowdy as the day goes on (especially on holiday weekends). After you get out of the water to warm up, Wekiva Springs has plenty of spots to grill out, play volleyball and hike.

3. Econlockhatchee Wilderness Area

If nature and solitude are what you want, try visiting the Econ River Wilderness Area in Seminole County.  It’s farther out than Wekiva Springs at about 18 miles from downtown Orlando, but it’s worth the trip.  The park is really more a nature preserve (it is a state forest) and as such it is absolutely huge at around 9000 acres.  Due to its size, it has multiple access points, but one of the more popular is at 1350 Snow Hill Road Geneva, Florida 32732.  The park consists of a large forest which contains a navigable river named the Econlockhatchee (usually just abbreviated as the Econ).  The area boasts miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.  A few of these trails run along the river, creating numerous viewing opportunities.  Since there can be fairly dramatic changes in relief along the river bank (by Florida standards) the view is quite scenic in many spots.  Assuming the water level is high enough, canoeing along the Econ is also a possibility.  The big draw of this park is its size, pristine nature and low usage.  It’s possible to hike for many hours without seeing another person.  If you’re lucky, you can also catch a glimpse of a gray fox, river otter, deer, wild turkey or bobcat.  Birds such as sandhill cranes and bald eagles can also be seen, as can alligators and turtles.  If you’re looking for some peace and quiet along with unspoiled scenic beauty, take a trip over to the Econ River Wilderness Area.

There are many other fantastic parks located throughout the Orlando area. You can find the locations of all of the parks and a lot of other information by exploring the MoveMap on!

Should I Be Worried About The Toxic Waste Sites in Orlando, Florida

Unfortunately, there are six known toxic waste sites in the Orlando metropolitan area.  The good news is that most have been cleaned up to meet the remediation standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  You can see the superfund sites in orlando fllocations of the toxic waste sites for yourself using our MoveMap.  In this blog post we’ll discuss three of these, telling you why it’s a designated Superfund site and what its cleanup status is.

According to the EPA, the City Industries site is a one acre former hazardous waste recycling compound located at 3920 Forsyth Rd Orlando, FL 32792.  The site was abandoned years ago, but when operational, City Industries Inc. handled and disposed of a variety of waste chemicals some of the chemicals were disposed of improperly, leading to on-site soil and groundwater contamination with volatile organic compounds.  In 1983, the state of Florida actually ordered City Industries to cease operation, at which point the compound was abandoned.  Around 1,200 barrels of hazardous waste and thousands of gallons of sludge (in holding tanks) were simply left on the site.  The property was added to the National Priority List (NPL) in 1989, making it eligible for cleanup.  After being added to the list, the EPA treated over 1,600 tons of contaminated soil and built a ground water pump and treatment system.  The site has been reclaimed and the area is now used for commercial and retail space.

The Chevron Chemical Co site located at 3100 Orange Blossom Tr. Orlando, FL 32804 consists of around 4 acres of industrial property where groundwater and soil contamination has occurred.  A variety of activities took place at the Chevron center and the EPA identified several contaminants of concern which include pesticides, volatile organic compounds (such as xylene) and metals. Fortunately, the EPA took action to clean up the site they state that the level of contamination at the property does not pose a threat to people living nearby.  In 1991 & 1992 the Chevron demolished all buildings on the property.  They also removed around 18,000 tons of soil which was contaminated with pesticides and treated ground water during the excavation.  Ground water monitoring wells were also installed to keep tabs on the contamination. Monitoring and cleanup operations are ongoing.

General Dynamics is situated in Longwood at 1333 North US Highway 17/92 Longwood, FL 32750.  Circuit boards and other electronics were manufactured on the property from the mid ‘60s to the early ‘80s.  Currently, the site is unoccupied and has been placed on the National Priority List due to soil and groundwater contamination.  From an environmental perspective, the area is fairly complicated since another manufacturing facility called Sprague Electric Company has also contributed to groundwater and soil contamination in the region.  The EPA believes the groundwater plumes from the two sites may have merged.  Fortunately, they do not believe the site currently represents a threat to people living and working nearby. However, the activities performed on the property have damaged the environment.  The surficial and part of the Floridan (deeper) aquifers have been contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) and this groundwater contamination could threaten the City of Winter Spring’s public water supply if not dealt with.  The plume has not become an issue yet and Winter Springs routinely checks its water supply for contamination. In terms of cleanup progress, the Sprague Site has been worked on and monitored for years, but the site investigation and cleanup efforts for General Dynamics are just getting underway.

While sites containing hazardous chemicals are scary and undesirable to live near they are also a part of our modern society, whether we like it or not.  The best thing we can do to protect our families and allay our fears is simply to educate ourselves.  If you’re concerned about Superfund, AKA toxic waste, sites in your area, we encourage you to take a look at our MoveMap and see if there are any sites located near your home.   After that, you can check out the EPA’s website which contains detailed information on all Superfund sites and contaminants present at each of them.