POINCIANA – If people want something badly enough, Luis Carrasquillo says, they have to fight for it, and let their voices be heard.
With that in mind, Carrasquillo is hoping to build strong public support in Poinciana for a project that has become his passion: bringing a movie theater to this fast-growing community of more than 84,000 residents.
“From the people who I’ve talked to, they are very excited and like the idea,” Carrasquillo said. “But I want to make sure they know there’s a community page there they can visit, and they can put any comments there, and I’m trying to use this also as a survey, to see how many people in the community like it.”
Carrasquillo is the president of the Heroes Family Club Multiplex Theater, an organization he formed last summer to find a large movie theater chain interested in building a cineplex in Poinciana. Now he wants the community to let their voices be heard, through a website with new information about the community, and a blog page that residents can log onto to make comments and ask questions about H.F.C. Theater.
By logging onto www.hfctheater.com, Poinciana residents can make positive comments about this project, which Carrasquillo said would “help us gain more attention from Hollywood studios like Paramount Pictures, Dream Works, IMAX Theaters and others. As of this time we are trying to negotiate with IMAX and we need to show them that our community needs and wants to have a movie theater here in Poinciana.”
If people use the blog to show that support, he said, that should make it easier to attract a large investor.
“I put up the web site to get the people informed and try to see how much traffic I can get, and see how they will be with the idea of us having a movie theater here,” he said. “This kind of information will help us to try to get a contract. They will see there’s a lot of people in the community who support it, and there is a need here for it, and hopefully that will motivate the companies to come here. This is going to create a lot of jobs when it gets built.”
That’s because Carrasquillo envisions more than just a movie theater coming out of this project. In fact, the theater will be the tipping point for so much more, he added.
“It won’t just be a movie theater, we’ll have other things there as well to provide services to the community,” he said. “We’re trying to start with five theaters, and then in the second phase, five more, and right now we also have plans for a bowling alley inside the theater.”
Can it happen? Absolutely, said Nick Murdock, the chairman of the Poinciana Economic Development Alliance, which is working to bring more jobs and economic development to the community of 10 villages that cuts across Polk and Osceola counties.
Murdock said Poinciana already has a large enough community to support a movie theater, and he agreed with Carrasquillo that if they can demonstrate local residents will patronize it, that makes the project more appealing to an investor.
“I’ve talked with the community people,” Murdock said. “Everybody wants the theater. So I’ve been working with him on the design of the theater. I know the community is anxious to have a theater, and we just have to find out where he is with his business plan and financial structure.”
In addition to expanding the web site, Carrasquillo said H.F.C. Theater is also developing a community volunteer program called the Sky-Watchers Club.
“We are in search of community heroes that would like to start this club here in Poinciana,” he said. “The purpose of this club is educational, and should be a new family hobby.”
He envisions a club were members go out on sky watching trips together, and has been in touch with officials at the Orlando Science Center to see if they would be the first place to host the group.
“They have a night observatory there and maybe we can make some trips there as families, something that will also be educational for the community,” he said. “This will give an opportunity to many people to see the stars, moon, and planets for the first time with the use of a telescope.”
To help promote the club, Carrasquillo is asking for anyone who owns a telescope to turn out on Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Poinciana Community Center for the kickoff event.
“We need at least four telescopes to give turns to people to watch the stars or our moon,” he said. “We will be giving away a free telescope to promote this event and our new community volunteers program. The Sky-Watchers Club is completely free for everyone.”
Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.