Florida Media Group meets with Orlando Mayor
By Devin Heflin
ORLANDO, FL — Historic newspapers met with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to discuss the upcoming historic rivalry game of Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) in November. The City of Orlando has hosted the Florida Classic Game since 1991. Tampa previously facilitated the game.
In a meeting at Mayor Dyer’s city Hall office on Wednesday, Oct.25, Florida Association of Black Owned Media (FABOM) members discussed with city officials the importance and relevance of the game and its economic impact on the city.
“The game continues to give a boost to our beautiful city”, said Mayor Dyer.
Dyer also laid out transportation and safety strategies that will be implemented for this year’s Classic venue, in the aftermath of the tragedy of the Las Vegas concert shootings from early October and locally the Pulse Nightclub shootings from June 2016.
“Transportation is one of our priorities. We are going to make sure vehicles and passengers are safe and that there are no pileups of cars, which has been an issue in time past”, said Dyer.
Black owned media representatives that attended Wednesday’s meeting were Devin Heflin, The Orlando Times, Jim Madison, The Florida Sun and Irene Pridgen.
“The projected economic value that this game will bring, along with the specific partnerships with Florida Blue, are always necessary towards the continued development of our city. Everyone will be safe and these are positive recruitment opportunities for both schools”, said Mayor Dyer.
The Florida Classic is estimated to produce thirty-five million dollars in economic valuation for the city of Orlando.
Jim Madison, Publisher of the Florida Sun, inquired into the construction alternatives that were available for residents. Mayor Dyer answered that residents will still be able to vend and construction crews will work out of the path of the game attendees for the Classic Weekend’s duration.
“It’s our hope that Orlando will continue to host this game”, said Reggie McGill, Community Relations Liaison for Mayor Dyer.
The Florida Blue Florida Classic begins on the third Thursday of each November and follows with a Battle of the Bands, the game on Saturday and the concluding car show on Sunday afternoon.
Founded in 1887, Florida A&M University was established as a school by Black business magnates for Black students to attend in Tallahassee. Bethune-Cookman was founded by Mary McLeod Bethune in 1901 as the Normal Negro Institute for Girls. The name was later changed to Bethune-Cookman College and later, Bethune-Cookman University.
“These historic schools have a rich legacy, and combined with this city, we enrich education and commerce”, said McGill.