Orlando Trying To Shine It’s Biggest Turd
Mayors Dyer, Jacobs to meet soon on Citrus Bowl upgrades
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs are setting up a meeting likely in early June to discuss ways to jump start $175 million in upgrades to the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Work on renovating general seating, box suites and other upgrades on the 76-year-old facility was slated to begin three years ago. But a fall-off in downtown property values stymied the city of Orlando’s ability to finance the project, and the recession drove down county tourist tax revenues, adding to the stadium’sfunding woes.
The delays prompted Citrus Bowl boosters to lobby Jacobs to tap into recently rebounding tourist tax collections to help get the project started. But Jacobs has pointed to the city’s limited credit as the main holdup and suggested that the project’s backers should look to private donors for help and consider breaking the work into less-costly phases.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for Jacobs said both mayors are close to holding a meeting to discuss any quicker upgrade options, but they still need to lock in a date. Dyer’s camp proposed two dates in early June, and Jacobs’ office is trying to work around those options.
“They’re still working out the logistics,” said Jacobs’ spokesman, Steve Triggs.
In recent weeks, both mayors had been quietly trying to set up a meeting. But e-mails show that each side has pushed for certain parameters.
In an e-mail on April 19, Dyer’s chief of staff Frank Billingsley wrote his counterpart at the county to say “we feel the most productive way to move forward, is not to review constraints already discussed but engage senior advisors from the City and County and perhaps our tourism partners to discuss options for moving forward.”
Jacobs over that time has asked that the meeting be held in public, since both mayors could end up voting on the issue in the future.