$60M deal could fund soccer stadium, Citrus Bowl, arts center



A $60 million deal is in the works to fund three Orlando venues.

WFTV learned leaders are working on a deal to get tourism tax dollars to help fund a new soccer stadium, provide additional renovations to the Citrus Bowl and pump more money into the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center.

Channel 9's Lori Brown asked if it's an appropriate use of the tourism development tax.

The tourism industry is the goose that lays the golden eggs for central Florida's economy, and decisions about how to spend the tax dollars it creates are critical.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said Tuesday he's working with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs to create a $60 million package.

"Certainly we've been working with the county and the tourism industry to look at the big picture about growing our share of the tourism pie," Dyer said.

$20 million would help build a soccer stadium, $12 million would create more amenities for the Citrus Bowl and $25 million would help finish the next phase of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

An unspecified amount would give a boost to tourism advertising campaigns.

The $60 million venue plan started with talk about using the tourism development tax to help fund a soccer stadium. Soon after, others started asking for their pieces of the pie.

"First we heard about the soccer stadium, then immediately thereafter, 'Well we need more money for the Citrus Bowl, 175 million is not enough.' Then all of a sudden, 'Yeah, we need more money for the Arts Center.' Coincidental? Perhaps," said Commissioner Fred Brummer.

Brummer said the priorities for the tax should be filling hotel rooms and keeping the convention center state of the art.

"My concerns are, does it add to the tourism community?" Brummer said.