Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A New Arena Could help Push Orlando/Orange County to the American Forefront

When this website started in April of last year my goal was to present the “pro arena” vantage to people of the Orlando/Orange County area and even if it did not change their mind, I hoped to at least offer a different viewpoint. One of the main issues I have run across is the fact that there are people who do not enjoy sports, concerts, or shows and see no reason why a new arena would help the Orlando/Orange County area. Recently news leaked that could offer a different vantage to those people.

The Orlando Sentinel has reported that both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions have been bid on by the city/county to take place here in 2008. Regardless of your political affiliation these are prestigious events, which would put Orlando/Orange County in a spotlight that has not been previously achieved. While there is no chance that both conventions will be hosted in the region, there is a good shot that one of these political parties could find Orlando as a suitor for their marquee event. Richard Crotty (Republican) and Buddy Dyer (Democrat), the two most powerful leaders in the area, have both put the bids in for their respected party’s conventions. While the intention is currently to try and sway the parties to host it at the Orange County Convention Center, the reality is that the chances of getting the parties to agree to a temporary setup are probably not going to happen. Both political parties have stated that they prefer their conventions to be in arenas that can fit 20,500-22,500 people, have 100 (or so) suites to put VIPs and news organizations, and in a “bowl shaped setting” to fit their delegates. The TD Waterhouse Centre currently does not cater to such venue specifications. (Holds 18,039 and contains 26 suites all situated well above the optimal viewing area for a VIP) The Democrats haven't been in a "convention hall" setting since San Francisco in 1984, and they have openly stated that they don't want to go back. There's less seating, bad sightlines for any far-away seats, and no existing skyboxes to entertain the VIPs in such setups.

This jumps to the idea of a new arena, while it wouldn’t be built specifically for this convention, the convention itself could be a catalyst in building a new arena in Orlando/Orange County. Both leaders know a commitment to the new arena could solidify their respected bids and with a new facility by 2008 the city/county could have a beautiful venue open up that could enhance the area as a major artery in the American infrastructure. This would push Orlando/Orange County to the forefront of the country, much like past convention cities Boston, New York, and San Diego have been. It would help solidify the “New Orlando/Orange County” that isn’t just theme parks and outlet malls, but a destination for business men to come for the golf and host their future conventions here. The ultimate result would be an increase in revenues for very source that would pay for a new arena, the tourist tax in Orange County, which has been the biggest opposition from hoteliers to this point.

Hopefully, with the help of local hoteliers and local leaders the arena situation can be resolved to help assure that events like this come to the area in the future and set the city/county up for a bright future.


Blogger rcannon509 said...

I would rather see my elected officials take care of the basics first, before inviting more growth. We have a crime rate that is exploding--I'm more worried about being a victim of violent crime than I am about being in a city that hosts a convention.

4:48 PM  

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