Official says Osceola can afford Nationals stadium or new visitor bureau, but not both



OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Osceola County leaders have a decision to make. The county has the money to build a new stadium for the Washington Nationals and they have funds for a new visitor's bureau, but they can't afford both.

Channel 9's Steve Barrett spoke with local business owners, who looked at the numbers and said the choice should be simple.

Mark Miller helped crunch numbers with county staffers after the Osceola County Commission first voted down a proposed stadium to bring the Nationals to Kissimmee for 30 years of spring training.

The commission will vote again this month, but the financial picture is bleak, according to Miller.

"If we do this, we are not doing road work on Poinciana Boulevard, which is huge," Miller said. "We are not doing it on Old Tampa Highway, which is huge. We're not making improvements to Austin Tindle Park, where our children play, in addition to tourists and things like that."

Miller said a new stadium just for spring training games would be a huge negative impact in a county that already has the Atlanta Braves at Disney and a viable spring training facility that only needs some improvements.

It's a question of spending about $40 million on improvements or $250 million on a new facility.

"They're going to play 17 games a year in this new stadium and that means we're going to be paying $490,000 per game over 30 years. I just think it's a bad use of money," said Miller.

The new vote is scheduled for Aug. 19.