Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs met at the Florida Citrus Bowl this morning to announce they have reached a deal to revive the stalled renovation of the aging stadium.
“We’re united by our desire to make this a better community,” Jacobs said. “It’s a big deal, but big deals are always tough to negotiate.”
Dyer said the renovations are needed to “make sure we don’t lose our place in line for the bowl games.”
Dyer said the city will likely use a mix of city revenues — though not property taxes — as the credit source to issue at least $140 million in bonds to finance the project.
With those details worked out, architects can begin work immediately, and construction can start in early 2014. Supporters say the improvements will allow the Citrus Bowl to compete against newer stadiums to host a changing landscape of college-bowl games, neutral-site games and other events.
“Last year, the bowl season generated $80 million to $100 million worth of economic activity,” Dyer said. “What I hear from people is they want us to get that Citrus Bowl refurbished so we don’t lose that huge economic engine.”
Dyer said the new financing plan won’t curtail public safety or any other city services, or hobble City Hall’s ability to pursue other significant public projects.
“This will have no impact on the municipal services provided by the city,” Dyer said.
Dyer and Jacobs, who first met to discuss rebooting the stadium renovation just two weeks ago, will sign ceremonial footballs to commemorate the deal. Original plans called for them to meet in one of the end zones but the rain is forcing them inside the stadium.
The City Council and County Commission will be asked to approve the new agreement in separate votes in two weeks.