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Celebration Area Council Hosts Panel on the “Alphabet Soup” of Celebration

On November 2nd, the Celebration Area Council invited the Osceola and Celebration business and residential communities along for a live panel discussion at Windsor at Celebration to explore and explain the “alphabet soup” of organizations that help keep Celebration running and successful.  Many are confused by the seemingly endless list of acronyms and initialisms associated with Celebration, what each organization does, and who to go to for certain questions or services.

Three of these organizations joined our own CAC to help clarify some of the letter jumble and to discuss how our organizations can work together, and with the businesses and residents of Celebration, to make the Community as strong as it can be.

Jack McLaughlin of the Celebration Community Development District (CCDD), Kathleen Sipio of the Celebration Foundation (CF), and David Anderson of the Celebration Residential Owners Association (CROA) engaged with each other and our attendees for an hour as part of a panel moderated by Chamber President/CEO John Newstreet.

McLaughlin, a Celebration resident of 22 years and a past president of the CROA board, now holds seat 5 of the CCDD board.  The CCDD is the special purpose limited government that falls under caption 1-9 of the Florida Statutes and is responsible for providing the infrastructure that makes Celebration the community it is.  They finance, acquire, maintain, contract, and operate all of the infrastructure in Celebration.  They are authorized to issue bonds, most recently for Celebration’s Island Village expansion, and are responsible for retention ponds, street trees, street signs, and much more.  CCDD has a 5-person board of supervisors elected during November general elections.

Kathleen Sipio has been the Executive Director of the Celebration Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to build a better community through the arts, culture, and education.  They are responsible for Celebration’s popular concert series, as well as special programs for Celebration’s seniors, an adult continuing education series, and community grants and scholarships.

David Anderson sits on the board of CROA.  CROA is the HOA for Celebration.  They recently hired a new management company and are exploring new and exciting ways to “onboard” new residents.

Other organizations that were not present for the panel discussion (a few of many, many more!) the Celebration Non-Residential Owners Association (CNOA), Celebration Community Services (CCS), and Lexin, which owns and leases the Celebration downtown. This dearth of organizations, our panelists admitted, is confusing even for them.

During this discussion, we learned that the CCDD has been asked by the state Department of Economic Opportunity to examine the question of incorporation for Celebration, and that is what they are focused on now.  CROA just hired a new management company and are very excited about their new resident portal that allows Celebration residents to .  The Celebration Foundation has found innovative ways to maintain their programs for residents throughout COVID, including extremely successful online programing that has attracted an international audience, and are excited to restart their concert series.

When asked how the different organizations can work together, and how the community might engage with these groups, the resounding answer was that Celebration residents, businesses and tenants are encouraged to be active and involved members of the community.  The CAC looks forward to being better connected with Celebration’s many “alphabet” organizations and working together to combat common problems.  Ongoing issues that the panel identified are increased parking solutions, the long-dormant Celebration Theatre, keeping the town fresh, and a need for rentable, shared office space.

If you are affiliated with an organization in Celebration, we would love to hear from you and connect with your organization.  Please reach out to us at 407-847-4145 or cpilkington@theosceolachamber.com.


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