Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando Mayor Dyer announce new plans for a major league soccer stadium to be built in Orlando.
Let’s make a deal.
Assuming I’m still around by then, I’ll wave those MLS soccer pom-poms once we hit the projected economic impact of $1.2 billion during the next 30 years, and neighboring Parramore doesn’t become part of the collateral damage in bringing professional soccer to Orlando.
As a sports guy, I’m happy that the MLS is coming after Orange County commissioners voted 5-2 Tuesday night to invest $20 million in tourist taxes to help build an $84 million stadium in downtown Orlando.
FOX35 reports on the approval of a MLS stadium in Orlando.
But also as a sports guy who has seen this movie before, I’d like to see tangible results down the road, and hope this stadium isn’t built on false promises.
There’s been a lot of collateral damage over the years with communities all gung-ho about stadium rejuvenating blighted communities and inflated numbers about economic impact. Turner Field in Atlanta comes to mind. The Atlanta Braves generate about $100 million a year in terms of economic impact to the area, but if you look around, the trickle-down effect seems to have missed the blighted neighborhoods adjacent to the stadium.
Much closer to home, the Amway Arena, built in 1989, displaced many Parramore residents and had no significant economic impact in the area. It has since been imploded.
Let's hope this vision doesn't blow up too.
Orlando stands to gain a great deal if the MLS is successful here. It will help rejuvenate downtown, much like the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Both venues will raise our sports and culture profile, and give residents a much more appealing reason to travel downtown after-hours.
The county opened up its checkbook big-time Tuesday night, allotting a total of $94.5 million for assorted projects: $25 million to help complete the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts; another $12 million for the $191 million Florida Citrus Bowl renovation that will start in January; $27.5 million for more international- and sports-tourism ads; and $10 million in additional convention-center upgrades.
That money comes from tourist taxes, but that’s not to say it all comes from folks who visit from Detroit, Des Moines and other destinations. Any local resident who does a staycation has pitched in to help fund these projects.
These projects are all important, no question.
We should cheer for their success, and support them as much as we can.
After all, it’s our money too.George Diaz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @georgediaz