Amway Center, UCF Sports, don’t deserve TDT financial steroids for inevitable projects

The Tourism Develop Tax Task Force met again this week to hear proposals from groups hoping to get in on the revenues collected by hotel stays in Orange County, which unjustly can’t be spent on needs like public safety and education.

The worst part about this project is having to hear from parties that definitely don’t need the money. So far, groups pushing for a baseball stadium (story HERE) and an already thriving convention center (story HERE) are the biggest culprits.

Add two more proposals to the “NO” pile with projects from UCF Sports and the Amway Center that don’t need your money and are going to happen whether we give it to them or not.

UCF wants an Athletic Village, which is already going to be a reality for the school’s arrival to the Big 12 Conference. The words “accelerate” and “amplify” gave me a headache because those are greedy words. There are some proposals who are just trying to get off the ground and get heard to begin with. And let’s not pretend that UCF is a charitable community partner. The student loan payments and cost of visiting events at UCF certainly don’t signal any kind of generosity on their part.

Same could be said for the Amway Center, which is part of the problem when it comes to the unfair tourism funnel that stretches from the airport to I-Drive, and doesn’t nearly do enough heavy lifting to even lift up the businesses down Church Street. They’re requesting upgrades to their facility to “remain competitive”. They’re already competitive and that’s not going to change if we install some new carpet six months ahead of schedule. Their workers can’t even pay the rent.

The best play for tourism development dollars remains pushing the legislature for diversification that will allow us to use the money for things we actually need.

If that’s not possible then there are many more projects for smaller groups that will educate our kids through the arts, and at least provide opportunities for their greater success in the future.

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