POINCIANA – Six months after becoming the driving creative force behind the web site, Darhlene Zeanwick has stepped down from her position as the operator of the Poinciana Digital Village, the site designed to bring together the residents of this fast-growing community.
Zeanwick stepped down late in July, and said she felt the Association of Poinciana Villages – the homeowner’s association for the 10 villages that make up Poinciana – wasn’t doing enough to communicate with the very residents that this site was intended to reach.
“I had a problem with the structure of it,” Zeanwick said. “It’s only been running for six months, but I was not getting much cooperation. There were a number of issues I didn’t feel like I could get over with.”
In fact, Zeanwick said shortly after resigning from her position, she ended up in the hospital from an intolerable migraine.
“I have never had a migraine so impossible to deal with,” she said. “A lot of people told me it was from stress, although I think it was probably just the weather. I’m actually at home now, recovering.”
Zeanwick was brought on six months ago for the launch of the Poinciana Digital Village, an ambitious attempt to unite this community of 10 villages scattered across unincorporated parts of Osceola and Polk counties. The idea was to create a kind of central online meeting place or marketplace for the community, a web site that allowed residents to click on and find out more about what was happening in their own village, in the overall community, and get plenty of other bits of information, like new businesses moving in or job postings.
Zeanwick even ran a series of computer classes at the Poinciana Community Center for residents, particularly seniors, who didn’t have strong computer skills.
But on July 22, she decided that enough was enough, and handed in her resignation.
Leo Delgado, who is in charge of the site, said it would remain up and running, and he expects it to continue to grow.
“We thank Darhlene for everything she did for us,” Delgado said. “We’re actually moving forward. This thing continues to move forward as people continue to use it. We expect nothing but growth and opportunity from the Poinciana Digitial Village. We still think the web site is capable of bringing people together.”
That, Delgado said, was the original mission and is still the chief purpose of keeping the digital village online: to connect Poinciana residents to their community.
“We think it’s a great way for the Association of Poinciana Villages to communicate with residents, and for the governments of Osceola and Polk County to communicate with them as well, and for businesses to communicate with residents,” he said. “Poinciana is an unrecognized gem.”
Zeanwick said the site did have its accomplishments under her watch.
“We accomplished some things,” she said, including allowing residents to post resumes and look for jobs locally.
“Economic development jobs are the most important thing in Poinciana,” she said.
Still, Zeanwick said the APV needed to do more in the future to make the site more successful.
“The APV, I thought, was interested in this site for increased communication,” she said. “If this is going to be a success, the APV has to step up to the plate and communicate more. The APV needs to sit down and decide if they really want to communicate with its residents or not. If you look at the site, there really isn’t much posted on it by APV, maybe just a couple of items a month.”
Zeanwick said she plans to attend the APV’s next board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at the Community Center, just in case any members of the board have any questions for her. The meeting starts at 9 a.m.
“I don’t want to deny them that if it helps them improve,” she said.
She also plans to stay busy on other fronts, including as a member of the Poinciana Economic Development Council, a group formed to help connect Poinciana residents with a series of major construction projects – and construction jobs – in the works, including the construction of the SunRail station off Poinciana Boulevard and Osceola Regional Medical Center’s plans to build the community’s first hospital.
“I’m still very active in the community,” Zeanwick said.
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