By Jennifer DiDomenico
For the News-Gazette
Tyler Crouch, 26, was born and raised in Osceola County.
He grew up in a duplex in Lamplighter— a community near the Walmart on U.S. Highway 192 in Kissimmee.
Crouch attended Reedy Creek Elementary until the opening of Celebration School. His mother had heard about Osceola County’s newest school and entered the lottery with hopes to land her son a spot once it was built. Crouch was one of the first 200 students to be accepted.
With separated parents, Crouch’s childhood was then split equally between Celebration and Poinciana. He says this allowed him to see the many changes taking place on both sides of town.
“Looking back it definitely seems like a whirlwind,” says Crouch. “Many of the local, family-owned businesses have been taken over by chains and the older once ‘hip’ places are now run down.”
Crouch says he remembers Kissimmee before it became so commercialized and feels as though he’s part of the last generation to remember “Old Kissimmee.” He says one of his most memorable traditions growing up is eating lunch at Fat Boys’ Bar-B-Q, an eatery that isn’t as crowded as it once was.
After spending some time living and teaching in Richmond, Va., Crouch says he could see why millennials are being drawn to bigger cities.
“I came back to Florida from Richmond to propose to my wife,” says Crouch. “I would love to eventually invest into Kissimmee, but I also have the desire to leave to experience a different culture and vibe.”