2009 Community Venues Message from the Mayor
January 14, 2009
As you are aware, our nationís economy is experiencing extraordinary hardship, and those impacts are hitting home in Orlando. It is in these times we must pay the greatest attention to creating jobs, providing economic stimulus and remaining committed to our vision for the regionís prosperity. Just as FDR used public projects in the 1930ís to create jobs, build roads and pull the country out of a depression, we took deliberate action to ensure the Community Venues projects provide construction jobs and economic benefits to our citizens and businesses.
To continue building these
projects in a prudent manner given the challenges we are facing, I
directed the Cityís finance team last fall to examine the Venues funding
plan and assess its viability in difficult financial markets and an
economic recession. As you know, the Venues financing plan depends on
various funding sources including State Sales Tax, Tourist Development
Tax (TDT), Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and private
philanthropy. The City of Orlando, Orange County and the hospitality
industry forged an historic partnership leveraging TDT revenues to help
build these Venues.
Our vision of what the Community Venues can do for our region remains unchanged. However, with the disturbance in the bond markets and a sizable reduction in TDT, the Dr. P. Phillips Performing Arts Center and the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium must be addressed. We must identify solutions and alternatives to be sure these projects move forward. We are currently reviewing cost-reduction measures including timing, project schedules, site configuration and other opportunities to reduce the overall project budget.
I have directed staff (with the guidelines below) to explore options based on the commitments the City, County, hospitality industry and the entire community has made.
With continued collaboration between the City and Orange County, our goal is to complete a new Events Center, Dr. P. Phillips Performing Arts Center and renovated Citrus Bowl stadium. This package of public works projects will position Orlando and Orange County for future, quality growth, provide thousands of jobs and infuse millions of dollars into our community.
I anticipate bringing forward recommendations when staff has concluded its analysis and formulated alternatives. I appreciate your continued support as we bring our long-term vision for Orlando to fruition.