Welcome to Celebration!
Michael Eisner’s Fever Dream, the exquisite product of an age when anything was possible for Disney, or so they thought at the time. Do you remember when we were SO identified with Mickey that, like any modern marriage, our names were, sort of, “hyphenated”? That was the period where the media only referred to us as “Disney’s Town of Celebration”. Right now it is only realtors who cannot write a listing without assigning the Disney ownership.
Well, that was before somebody (and by “body” I mean human person, resident) smacked the Celebration Company right out of it, introducing various culture wars, battling teaching methods, school locations, and revealing a fact unknown to Page Pierce, that the residents had ideas of their OWN about how our converted swampland should be organized. This turned out to be a vexing problem for which the TCC, accustomed as they were, to absolute control, had grown accustomed to calming dissatisfaction with a comped meal, OR a cunning little Mickey figurine. (I still have a small collection) This method operated SO successfully in the parks. It was only then that the Celebration Company began their quest to shoehorn in a respectable distance between Disney and, not so much The TOWN of Celebration, but the residents of Celebration. They had real estate left to sell, which meant our little arrangement was still on, but in a now lukewarm way.
One cannot blame Disney for this. All along the way, The Celebration Company openly confessed that they were only providing the infrastructure, that it was the GUESTS- I mean residents-who would fill this wonderful place with actual substance, and would make their wishes known through our almost-democratic form of governance.
I have fiddled around with the ways of condominium associations, and picked up an opinion, in some cases more than opinion, yes, actual FACTS about how they function. Most-in this case, say, 97 out of 100 owners, did NOT move into a condominium to learn how condominium “sausage” is made. They want to be cared for. Many are quite startled to learn the bare bones of the rules. And the governance. AND they only do this when something such as a roof collapse, or worse, a new ASSESSMENT appears.
The hands-off approach is somewhat less pervasive for our HOA. Yet, still, it seems that the majority of residents receive their information from a variety of “Porches”, where CROA-NON like truths can blossom.
At long last, I am arriving at my thesis, which is that I find the Pickleball location controversy an encouraging signal of greater interest, greater participation in the process, and greater appreciation for the Wagnerian efforts of so many, struggling to sort out the winding path of Celebration and its politics.
Voter participation is embarrassingly small. The current referendum requires 362 signatures, 8% of our population. In the latest CROA election, the top vote getter loped into office with 769. No math expert here, but my fourth grader grandson tells me that is 17 percent of the 4,524 eligible household votes. Not exactly a mandate.
I’d like to think that a FAR greater percentage of Celebrites choose to understand these issues, and a referendum is a dandy way of engaging, and educating our own huddled masses.
And I don’t care who wins, I care who votes. Maybe Pickleball IS the fastest growing sport. Or maybe, as quoted in the Washington Post, “Everytime a new Pickleball court is built, an orthopedic surgeon gets a swimming pool”. Either way, it is all of us, newly informed and involved residents, who will be winning.