Seminole County may pony up $2M for Orlando soccer stadium

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

9 Investigates has learned Seminole County taxpayers may help foot the bill for a new soccer stadium in Orlando.

The county is considering a plan to spend $2 million toward the stadium, which is planned to be built downtown between the Amway Center and Citrus Bowl.

Investigative reporter Christopher Heath asked Seminole County leaders if it's really the best use of tax money from their county.

An email sent to hotel managers in Seminole County gives the first glimpse of a plan to spend the $2 million over 10 years for Orlando soccer and its new stadium.

"We do have hotels up here. We don't have soccer up here," said Lake Mary Deputy Mayor Gary Brender.

Brender is still waiting for more information from the county on the plan but said discussions are planned between the county and area hotels to track the economic impact of the soccer franchise in Seminole County and make sure the county is getting a payoff for its payout.

"I am quite certain that anything that would be tied to Seminole County tax dollars would be tied to some kind of performance-based return," said Brender.

But some Seminole County residents think the money could be better spent.

"They need to spend it elsewhere," said resident David Meier.

Residents are already bracing for a 1-cent sales tax increase to pay for roads, so they're skeptical about sending general fund tax dollars to another county.

"The soccer stadium is a bad idea first of all, so sending money over there makes no sense at all," said Meier.

The closest comparison to the soccer stadium is the $480 million Amway Center arena, but that cost was shared between the county, city and the Orlando Magic, even though about half of the Magic season ticket holders live in Seminole County.

Orlando City Soccer also has its training facility in Seminole County. Under the agreement, the club would have to put on more events at that facility and hotels would report on added income.