The Potato Eating Place
Now Orlando’s largest city, Apopka’s earliest known inhabitants were the Acuera, members of the Timucua confederation. The Seminole Indian tribe succeeded them, named the area Ahapopka, meaning potato eating place, and occupied the area until 1842 at the conclusion of the Second Seminole War. The area’s first Masonic Lodge was erected in 1859, and its surrounding one square mile was incorporated in 1882 as City of Apopka.
Until Apopka City Commissioner Joe Kilsheimer was elected Mayor in 2014, Florida’s longest-serving mayor and one of the longest-serving mayors in the country, John H. Land, served longer than 61 years, cumulatively. Apopka Historical Society operates Museum of the Apopkans, preserving history of Northwest Orange County, Apopka and local historical buildings.
A Different Kind of Greenhouse Effect
Apopka City Hall features indoor and outdoor homage’s to its strong history of being “The Indoor Foliage Capital of the World”, but Apopka’s once-thriving foliage industry lost many smaller greenhouses after the 2008 recession. Apopka City Council’s longest tenured member, Bill Arrowsmith, for example, is a long-time banker who once operated a local greenhouse. Even with setbacks and major losses in its indoor foliage industry, Florida remains the top producer of indoor foliage in the country.
New Paths to Growth
State Road 414, the nine-mile John Land Apopka Expressway, is Orlando’s newest major east-west corridor. The toll road relieves congestion in Apopka while providing better access to Maitland Center, Interstate 4 and SR 429. Once the second leg is completed to connect with I-4 at Sanford, the Wekiva Parkway and John Land Apopka Expressway will make State Route 414 the shortest route from I-4 to Walt Disney World attractions.
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Types of Businesses
Figures from the most recent state of the city report show top five employers in Apopka for 2013 were Century Link, Orange County Public Schools, Wal-Mart Supercenter, TriQint and City of Apopka.
New industries are planting different crops of economic opportunities in Apopka.
Population was 41,542 at 2010 United States Census. The city estimates 76,037 for 2015 and projects 84,000 by 2020. With median household income $76,037 in 2015, growing businesses and expanded transportation routes hopefully will bring new economic opportunities for many within the 10 percent of Apopka’s population living below the poverty line.
Apopka schools are part of award-winning Orange County Public Schools, which is among the United States’ top four percent of school districts. Two Orange County high schools serve the Apopka community. Apopka High’s Blue Darters football and the Boys’ Bowling teams are state champions.
Florida Hospital-Apopka and seven others within 15 miles.
Sales tax in Apopka is 6.500 percent. Millage rates for 2015 included 3.2876 of the county’s total 16.6174.
WESH-TV reported several fatal shootings in Apopka during the first quarter of 2016 and another in the second quarter, mostly among high-school age boys and girls. Apopka had a history of higher property and violent crime rates than Orange County, but in 2013 implemented a three-year Safe Neighborhood South Apopka Action Plan to revitalize and help residents take back their neighborhoods. Updated figures are forthcoming.
Apopka neighborhoods are convenient to schools, shopping, restaurants and commuter routes.
Belmont Reserve is a planned development with trending home designs and organized, resort-style activities right at home. Choose from single-family homes, villas, condominiums and garden homes.
Meadows of Maude Helen is 49 square miles of classy, single-family homes in established neighborhoods built by Ryan Homes where families and young professionals can meet and get to know one another.
Rose Bay is a popular, well-maintained neighborhood in Apopka where privacy and safety preserve the friendly, quite, peaceful style here.
Culture and Lifestyle
Country music and diverse sports are part of this active community culture. Apopka National Little League played in the 2001 Little League World Series. Apopka Amphitheater hosts major music concerts and entertainers. Old Florida Outdoor Festival each July features rides, livestock shows, concerts, and a Dockdogs Competition.
Apopka is not bicycle or pedestrian-friendly, but you can hunt, hike, bike, camp, canoe and ride horseback at Rock Springs Run State Reserve along 17 miles of Wekiva River shoreline.