Multicultural Center Grand Opening: A Community Celebration
In a somewhat familiar setting, including similar faces, Orange County officials and community leaders came together to celebrate the grand opening of the long-awaited Pine Hills Multicultural Center. In November 2022, just a few months ago, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to introduce the public to the yet-to-be-completed building. However, even then, it was easy to tell that this building would be something special. Something that the community would be proud of.
The project has been in development since 2016 and has experienced several delays, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a labor shortage. It was the brainchild of then-Orange County Commissioner Victoria Siplin. The 17,000-square-foot multicultural center is located near the intersection of Pine Hills Rd. and Hiawassee Rd. in the "heart of Pine Hills" in what was formerly Gooding's Supermarket. The day's event included comments by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, County Commissioner Michael Scott, District 6, and former County Commissioner Victoria Siplin. In her remarks, Siplin echoed words of encouragement and hopes this project will “help create a legacy and take the next generation to a level we can only imagine.”
The newly minted facility will be used as a hub for the arts, culture, and innovation. It will also be home to several nonprofit organizations that provide job training, community resources, youth programming, and other personal and professional development initiatives to the community in desperate need of additional wrap-around programs. According to Orange County, future phases of the project include a dedicated senior center and an innovation and design lab. The $8 million project signifies a commitment to help a community often plagued and in the news for less favorable events, including incidents of crime and gun violence. It is the hope of many that this facility can become a catalyst for change.