Ample land and ambitious business plans point to growth.
Osceola County officials are working on a blueprint for the county’s future – and at the forefront is the new Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center.
The two-story, 109,000-square-foot building has the potential to transform Florida’s economy by creating the advanced manufacturing infrastructure that will develop key markets and technologies and a highly educated, world class science-based workforce.
“There’s no doubt we are building a new Osceola County,” Osceola Commission Chairwoman Viviana Janer, told an audience earlier this year during the annual State of the County address.
Osceola is growing, with a population of more than 325,000 – an increase of 80 percent from the year 2000. And by 2040 it’s projected to grow to more than 681,000.
All its economic pieces are fitting together to build a better county.Osceola is working not only to attract new businesses – but new types of businesses, those that create good-paying jobs for citizens. At the same time it is making sure that residents have the education to fill the slots created.
The region’s largest county in area, Osceola still offers a distinct way of life. As a testament to that lifestyle, there are more than 200 cattle ranches in the southern part of the county.
Founded on May 12, 1887 from portions of Orange and Brevard counties, Osceola became Florida’s 40th county. Named after the famed Seminole leader, this area was a transportation hub in the late nineteenth century for riverboats and the railroad. It supported a bustling cattle, sugar, and lumber-based economy.
Agriculture and tourism are still vital to the economy. The county is home to the largest cow-calf operation in the continental United States.
Just as significant, is the tourism industry along its northwest border, where Walt Disney World overlaps into Osceola County.
The county has two cities, St. Cloud and Kissimmee and several significant geographic areas and/or unincorporated communities, including: Poinciana, Celebration, Harmony, ChampionsGate, Campbell City, Intercession City, Narcoossee, Holopaw, Kenansville, and Yeehaw Junction.
Kissimmee is in the northwest border of Osceola County and is in close proximity to the region’s largest amusement park, Walt Disney World Resort. Southeast of the city is Lake Tohopekaliga (nicknamed Lake Toho), and its Kissimmee Waterfront Park which encompasses walking paths, playgrounds and a fishing pier. Shingle Creek, considered the headwaters of the Everglades, runs through the western side of the city. While a city of 66,000, nearly half a million visitors stay in Kissimmee’s commercial lodging facilities each month as well as dine and shop in the area.
St. Cloud is a family-oriented city with small town charm. It sits south of Lake Toho where championship bass fishing is held. With a population 40,000 residents, it is home to the Reptile World Serpentarium. The city was founded when Union soldiers retired to the area in 1909 and for a time it was governed by the Veteran’s group. Today, residents and visitors alike can stroll through the shops in the historic downtown where almost are the streets are named after states.
Osceola County Map (PDF)
Osceola County Data Sheet (PDF)