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Orange County approves TDT dollars for UCF football tower & more

A rendering of a new football tower for FBC Mortgage Stadium.
Orange County TV
A rendering of a new football tower for FBC Mortgage Stadium.

On Tuesday, Orange County Commissioners voted to spend Tourism Development Tax dollars, or TDT dollars, on two different projects.

Commissioners voted unanimously on a UCF proposal, which calls for $10 million a year for the next nine years to fund a new football stadium tower at FBC Mortgage Stadium.

UCF president, Alexander Cartwright and athletic director Terry Mohajir were present at the meeting advocating for the proposal. They pointed toward UCF's status as a Big 12 Conference athletics school as a means of generating tourism revenue. The two presented a video of Baylor University fans tailgating on campus during the last home game. Elated Baylor fans described their stay in Orlando with many listing the different parks and restaurants they added to their itinerary while in town for the big game.

But that wasn't the only project commissioners gave the green light to.

The board also voted 5-2 on a proposal to renovate the Orange County Convention Center for $560 million.

Commissioners held off on discussing other project proposals such as the Amway Center, Camping World Stadium, and the Dr. Philips Center for the Performing Arts.

The motion to hold off was supported by Commissioner Mayra Uribe of District 3 due to a concern over how much money Visit Orlando receives.

“We’re spending $108 million on marketing and we’re only financially bonding $79 million. So we’re spending more on marketing than we are on our infrastructure," she said.

She went on to list several reasons why a deeper discussion was called for.

"[Visit Orlando] is essentially getting a third of this money," she said. "They have no oversight. They’re the only board in Orange County that doesn't have a county commissioner or mayor on the executive board. They’re the only board that doesn’t have to present their budget to us. They're the only board, even constitutional officers have to return excess revenue." 

While approvals were made, the county reported for the fifth month in a row that Orange brought in fewer TDT dollars on hotel and other rental stays compared to the previous year.

Corrected: October 4, 2023 at 4:21 PM EDT
A previous iteration of this story featured a misspelled name. It should have read Alexander Cartwright.
Originally from South Florida, Joe Mario came to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida where he graduated with degrees in Radio & Television Production, Film, and Psychology. He worked several beats and covered multimedia at The Villages Daily Sun but returned to the City Beautiful as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel where he covered crime, hurricanes, and viral news. Joe Mario has too many interests and not enough time but tries to focus on his love for strange stories in comic books and horror movies. When he's not writing he loves to run in his spare time.
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