Orlando City Soccer Club's $115 million stadium project in jeopardy
Orlando City SC's new $115 million stadium is in jeopardy of not being built if the team and the state of Florida can not reach an agreement on funding, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Florida lawmakers have yet to approve the necessary $30 million for the project, which is expected to be completed by next year.
The team currently plays in the 60,000-seat Citrus Bowl.
The Orlando City Council agreed to construction of the stadium last year, which is set to be funded entirely by Orange County, Orlando and the Orlando City Soccer Club.
The team even sent an email to supporters of the club asking them to contract state lawmakers to help get the project completed.
"We are getting closer to obtaining the funding for the new Downtown Stadium in the State Legislature," the email appeal said. "While we are excited with all the progress made so far—we need your help."
Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer said that hopes the team gets the funding it needs by the end of the legislative sessions, which ends next Friday.
"The process was supposed to take the politics out of this, and now it's purely politics. The $85 million stadium was never what anybody wanted," Dyer said. "The $30 million [in sales-tax-rebate funding] was not bonus money ... it's integral to the stadium."
Orlando City spokesman Lenny Santiago says the club hopes for a “successful outcome" in working with partners in the state legislature but has to be ready for alternative solutions.
"That would be something we'd have to look at depending on the outcome here in the next week or so," Santiago said. "We'd have to regroup and evaluate in terms of what would be the next steps."
Orlando City (2-2-3) is fifth in the Eastern Conference with eight points in its first season in Major League Soccer.
- Scooby Axson