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Orange County leaders approve $400 million in tourism tax funds for Camping World Stadium renovation

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County leaders approved spending $400-million in tourism tax funds Tuesday to renovate Camping World Stadium.

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At their regular meeting Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Commissioners also approved funding for changes at the Kia Center, formerly known as the Amway Center.

Those tax dollars come from hotel stays within the county.

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Mayor Jerry Demings says the long process to get to Tuesday’s vote has paid off.

After nearly a year of discussing how to best spend the $900-million earned from Central Florida’s biggest industry, Orange County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to use $400-million of it to replace the 30-year-old upper decks at Camping World stadium.

“We will be able to make an investment in Camping World stadium, and making sure that it continues to be competitive,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said after the vote.

Demings says the update is necessary as Orange County competes with other major areas to draw in concerts and sporting events.

The decision comes as a packed meeting filled with everyone from executives to Orange County residents showed up for a chance at the microphone, supporting the projects they want to see awarded with millions.

The winners included the Kia Center, set to receive a total of $226 million to maintain and upgrade their stadium.

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The multi-million dollar projects passed nearly unanimously with just commissioner Emily Bonilla voting against the plan.

“We have always supported the industry and those it supports,” Bonilla said during Tuesday’s meeting. “However, we don’t see the industry supporting those who rely on it.

Part of the investment comes with a catch: both projects will need to commit to a program that supports the local community by boosting women and minority-owned businesses.

As part of Tuesday’s hours-long meeting, Commissioners also voted to increase their oversight of Visit Orlando, the organization responsible for tourism marketing in the area.

Part of the plan approved Tuesday includes significant cuts to the agency.

Visit Orlando has historically received 30-percent of taxes collected from hotel stays. In 2023, that was more than $100-million.

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However, moving forward, Visit Orlando will get $15-million less.

That funding will instead go to smaller arts and culture grants, as well as a committee that will work to attract major sporting events to the area.

County leaders have said, right now, they’re limited by state law when it comes to using Tourist tax funds, but the county is working on advocating for a separate tax that could help with things like affordable housing.

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