Orange County, FL – The Orange County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) approved an ordinance today for a $94.5 million venues package that supports performing arts, sports, recreation, tourism and commerce. The 5-to-2 vote came after four hours of public comment and discussion with more than 100 speakers.
The BCC vote included approval of the Third Amendment to the Orlando/Orange County Interlocal Agreement between the County, City or Orlando, and the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency to provide funding for the various community venues. This allows the use of Tourist Development Tax funds, better known as resort or bed tax, for Phase II construction of the Dr. Phillips Center (DPC), upgrades to the Citrus Bowl, and the construction of a soccer stadium. Commissioners also agreed to approve the Third addendum to the 2007 Tourism Promotion Agreement between Orange County and Visit Orlando providing additional marketing and advertising funding in connection with the Central Florida Sports Commission that will help create a full roster of events targeting the non-peak tourism season.
“Each of these projects makes fiscal and strategic sense,” said Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “Each will propel diversified streams of visitors, and each will add to our reputation as an international mecca of diversity, sports, culture and entertainment.”
“This Interlocal Amendment is about providing jobs for our residents. It’s about creating unparalleled sports and entertainment options for our residents and visitors,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “It’s about strengthening the backbone of our region’s economy, tourism, by attracting national and international events to Orlando and it’s about bringing Major League Soccer to Orlando.”
The funding plan includes:
|Additional Convention Center Renovations
|Visit Orlando Sports Promotion
(Central Florida Sports Commission)
|Dr. Phillips Center
|Multi-Use Soccer Stadium
|Citrus Bowl Renovations
Commissioners also agreed to several conditions:
- An additional $25 million for the new Performing Arts Center contingent upon construction of the final stage of the Performing Arts Center commencing prior to January 31, 2015 and all funds necessary to complete the project being committed and available to the city.
- An additional $12 million for the competitive scope improvements to the Citrus Bowl based on Florida Citrus Sports contributing $6 million.
- A $20 million contribution for the new Major League Soccer Stadium contingent upon the certification of Orlando City Soccer as a Major League Soccer team, Orlando hosting at least one “All-Star” game, the team providing $40 million towards the cost of the stadium, a 25-year lease agreement, and the team must cover any construction cost overruns.
“We are very excited about today’s approval of funds for the stadium,” said Orlando City Soccer President Phil Rawlins. “We’ve been working towards this for a very long time and look forward to entering final negotiations with Major League Soccer.”
"We are very thankful for the leadership provided by the City and County in approving funding for the second phase of the Performing Arts Center, MLS soccer stadium, tourism promotion, and Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. We are excited about the future of our community and the ability to grow our portfolio as a major stadium sports tourism destination," said Steve Hogan chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Sports.
Today’s public hearing was a follow-up to the August 9th Tourist Development Council workshop were funding was unanimously recommended. Earlier this month, the City of Orlando also approved the venues package.
"Today’s vote is valued at $25 million, but the decision to help deliver on this promise to our community is priceless. We are about to build a new legacy for Central Florida, thanks to the vote of confidence from our county commissioners and the continued support of Mayor Jacobs and Orange County,” said Dr. Phillips Center President Kathy Ramsberger. “Our county and city elected officials, along with the tourism and artistic community, have reinforced the commitment to get this entire project done. We still have more work to do, but it’s now time for us to go and do it!”
"We are grateful for the confidence our elected officials have placed in Visit Orlando and our 1,200 tourism-related companies," said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel.” "Additional tourism promotion will enhance efforts to drive future visitation and ensure that Orlando remains the leading leisure and convention destination that it is today."
“We are delighted to be a part of bringing new sports events to Central Florida. We look forward to working with Visit Orlando and all our partners to ensure success,” added Central Florida Sports Commission President and CEO John Bisignano”
About Orange County Government: Orange County Government strives to serve its citizens and guests with integrity, honesty, fairness and professionalism. Located in Central Florida, Orange County includes 13 municipalities and is home to world famous theme parks, the nation’s second largest convention center, and a thriving life science research park. Seven elected members make up the Board of County Commissioners including the Mayor who is elected countywide. For more information please visit www.OCFL.net or go to the Orange County facebook and twitter pages.