What used to be the Kissimmee City Street Railway Company became Kissimmee when it was incorporated in 1885. Perched along the northwest shore of Lake Tohopekaliga, nicknamed Lake Toho, lies this quaint, family-friendly community just south of Orlando. Old and new homes with unique features and architectural styles create special neighborhoods. Disney World Resort complex and a multitude of themed amusement parks are as close as a 15 minute drive. Kissimmee Gateway Airport is a small airport set on 892 acres of the city’s 17.32 square miles. Though it does not offer passenger service, it is open to the public.
It is no wonder natural beauty graces the landscape with trees, wildlife and flowers, considering the air quality in the city registers at a favorable 90.6 out of 100. Kissimmee is rich in natural water resources like Kissimmee River, which outflows from East Lake Tohopekaliga and forms the boundaries for several counties on its way to Lake Okeechobee. Verdant Kissimmee Waterfront Park has walking paths, playgrounds and a fishing pier.
Not-to-be-missed Old Town Kissimmee is a one-of-a-kind community hub. Set in a re-creation of a classic Florida town at the turn of the century, unique adventures await everyone in this unique walking district with tree-lined brick streets. Over 50 unique shops, restaurants, bars and fun adventures await everyone, including classic car cruises, magic shows, family amusement center and concerts.
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Government Fleet magazine recently recognized Kissimmee for the third year in a row as one of the Top 100 Best Fleets in the Americas for highest performing fleet operations in North and South America. The top five industries in Kissimmee over the five years between 2008-2012 were in entertainment, recreation, accommodation, administration, and retail trade. With a workforce of 6,000, Osceola County School District is the largest employer in the county, followed by Walt Disney Company and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Cost of living in Kissimmee is just under the national average. The unemployment rate is 5.70%, but job growth is 4.96% compared to 1.18 percent nationally. To assist in job growth, the city offers economic incentives including a fast track permitting process, a ten percent rate reduction in commercial energy rates and a new business start-up program.
Poinciana High School is one of 22 Osceola county schools that raised FSA and EOC assessment scores by ten or more points in 2016. High school students can choose from many paths including Computer Programming and Robotics, The Construction Pipeline and Future Educators Academy. The Technical Education Center Osceola, Johnson University Florida, and The Academy of Career Training are higher education institutions located here.
Kissimmee’s approximate physician to population ratio is 109 per 100,000. Florida Hospital Kissimmee and Osceola Regional Medical Center serve the area’s health needs with the latest treatments and technology.
Median income in the area was $33,949 for 2013. Kissimmee millage rate is 4.6253/$1000. Osceola County offers residents an alternative or installment payment plan for property taxes. The county assesses a Tangible Personal Propery Tax. State sales tax is seven percent, but there are no state or local personal income taxes. Violent crime and property crime are high compared to the United States average.
Lindfields Estates is located in West Kissimmee near Orlando attractions and within 15 minutes of Walt Disney World resort. Built in the 1990’s, most of its lovely 1,300-2,724 square feet villas have private swimming pools.
Celebration has a charming, small-town America flavor. Walt Disney Company developed this area with Folk Victorian, Colonial, and Mediterranean-style homes. Celebration has upscale shopping boutiques and fine dining. They host the annual Sci-Fi 4th of July, a sci-fi themed costume contest with live music and fireworks. This is also where the high school is located.
The very well-kept neighborhood of Williamsburg, located near Sea World, is a former retirement community built in the late 1970’s that has affordable homes for young families.
Culture and Lifestyle
Kissimmee is home of the Silver Spurs Rodeo. Downtown Disney® sponsors the annual Festival of the Masters, an open-air art festival. Visit the Museum of Military History, Osceola County Historical Society’s Pioneer Center and The Osceola Performing arts Center. Celebration Town Center transforms into the Art & Wine Stroll three weekends a year. Visitors stroll this open-air gallery with a glass of wine in hand to browse an array of oil paintings, watercolors and more.
Many hiking and camping trails afford quiet places to enjoy lush, verdant vegetation while getting back to nature. You might spot wildlife like Bald Eagles, wild turkeys, turtles and deer. Several biking trails surround Lake Tohopekaliga and wind along the Kissimmee River through protected conservation areas.
Junior Achievement and YMCA serve the youth and families of Kissimmee. Civic organizations like Lion Foundation and Kiwanis chapters, and community groups like Florida Cattlemen’s Association and Give Kids The World help keep the city moving forward.