Orange Co. mayor hesitates to provide funds for new soccer stadium

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs is putting the brakes on county funding for a new soccer stadium.

Her statements came in the same memo providing $25 million for the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center.

Orlando City Soccer is lobbying hard to get city and county funds for a new stadium to capture a major league soccer team.

Jacobs laid out concerns about the stadium including the cost of more than $100 million, the fast-paced construction timeframe and the proposed finance plan.

Orlando City Soccer's average attendance is the highest in the league at 6,900 people per game.

Commissioner Fred Brummer said that is not enough to justify the use of tax dollars and it should be done privately by the interested party.

"If they're good investment, the sports community will make those investments. There is no justification for using tax dollars," Brummer said.

Mayor Jacobs in her memo said the team and Major League Soccer have told her many times an MLS team could continue to play in the Citrus Bowl for as many as five years, kicking the stadium issue down the road.

Jacobs said before she discusses any further the plan to pay for a stadium, she will look at ways to bring the cost down.

Jacobs has hesitated in the past to provide county funds for the Citrus Bowl and the Performing Arts Center, but the county is now funding both projects at $300 million.

Orlando City Soccer did not provide anyone to respond to Mayor Jacobs’ concerns.

A spokesperson for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer pointed out that in order to attract a team, MLS requires the selected city to build a soccer stadium.