The Orange County Commission is scheduled to decide Tuesday how Orlando will move forward as an entertainment and sports destination.
Do we want to be world-class or second-rate?
Do we want to be Las Vegas or Birmingham?
Do we want to be Taylor Swift or Barbara Streisand?
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Nothing against Streisand (I still get teary-eyed when I hear her songs) The way we are.), but she is in her 80s and no longer gives concerts. However, it should be noted that even though she is 81 years old, Streisand is still 10 years younger than she was at Camping World Stadium.
The reason I bring this up is because the Orange County Commission allocates $400 million in Tourism Development Tax (TDT) to renovate Camping World Stadium and $256 million to update the Amway, or rather, Kia Center. Please decide.
Why is this even a decision or discussion?
Of course, city (and county) venues need to be updated.
When TDT funds were originally approved to build an arena and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts while making much-needed renovations to Camping World Stadium, the civic mantra at the time was “get it all done.” . Do it now. Do it right. ”
Now, 18 years later, I have a new belief.
“Keep everything up. Maintain them now. Keep them right.”
If you spend money on building a house, you will eventually have to use the money to repair the house. Air conditioning systems and roofs need to be replaced every few years. Or, as your family grows, you may want to add a new room for more space. If you want to invite people to your home or entertain them, you need to keep it looking good.
On a large scale basis, this is essentially what we are talking about here. If we want to be the hospitality capital of the world and invite people to our city (and county) to entertain them, then why not have something great? ?
Our county commissioners are smart people. they know this. That's why we've already approved nearly $600 million in TDT funding for further expansion of the Orange County Convention Center. Commissioners believe Orlando's convention center needs to be state-of-the-art if it wants to compete with the likes of Las Vegas and Chicago and remain a major player in attracting convention tourism.
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Camping World Stadium and Kia Center are similar, but the difference is that these venues not only attract tourists, but are enjoyed by locals as well. I have never been to the Shriners Summit held at the convention center, but I have been to many concerts and sporting events at Camping World Stadium and Kia Center.
Frankly, it's amazing to me that Camping World does such a business (including the Rolling Stones, the Pro Bowl, WrestleMania, premier international soccer matches involving teams like Real Madrid, Miami vs. See college football games in neutral sites like Florida) FSU-LSU and two of the country's major non-New Year's Six bowl games), even if it's horribly outdated.
Can you believe we still have those old high school style metal bleachers all over Camping World's upper deck? Did you know that Camping World's upper deck wouldn't pass building codes if it were built today?
No wonder Taylor Swift skipped Orlando for Tampa a few months ago. No wonder Orlando narrowly missed out on his 2026 World Cup spot. And in the future, there is no chance of hosting a College Football Playoff game unless the stadium is upgraded.
Doesn't Orlando need a stadium that it can be proud of, instead of one that feels self-conscious every time it hosts a big event? Camping World Stadium is as grand as the multi-billion dollar palatial NFL stadium, right? I'm not saying it has to be, but it doesn't have to be. Orlando itself is a multi-billion dollar destination. People desperately want to come to the beautiful city. We just need to make the stadium beautiful enough so that it doesn't cause concerts and sporting events to stop happening. please do not I want to come here.
TDT's $400 million in funding requested by Camping World Stadium may seem like a lot, but it pales in comparison to the $2 billion stadium plan currently being considered by the city of Jacksonville.
As for the Amway Center, it's been nearly 15 years since it was established and has been experiencing various mechanical, electrical, and technical problems. There's everything from new Zambonis for Solar Bears and NHL exhibition games to new spotlights for Magic games, concerts and high school graduation ceremonies. New garage doors on the loading dock…new kitchen and refrigeration equipment…new fire safety equipment…new computer systems and servers running all the latest technology needed to host top-notch concerts and sporting events.
As Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer points out, the county-owned convention center is modernized and maintained annually with TDT's multi-million dollar grant, while other facilities such as Camping World Stadium and the Kia Center City-owned venues are mostly left to fend for themselves.
“we [the city] We believe these buildings are operated at our expense and are not City of Orlando buildings, as some have suggested,” Dyer said. “We believe these are community buildings that will benefit the entire area.”
He's right. This is not a city vs. county issue. Orlando is Orange County and Orange County is Orlando. we are the same.
And the benefit of using TDT to maintain our venue is that that money is not actually our own tax money. A message from Joe and Jane from Omaha and the millions of tourists who visit Orlando each year.
Keep them all. Please maintain it now. Let's keep it right.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact X (formerly Twitter) @BianchiWrites and listen to my Open Mike radio show weekdays from 6-9:30 a.m. on FM 96.9, AM 740, 969TheGame.com/listen.