Skyplex makes big promises to Central Florida communities

Neighboring communities are hopeful

ORLANDO, Fla. – When Sam Butler heard the promise of 3,700 jobs from Skyplex's mega-entertainment complex on Orlando's International Drive, he started singing Skyplex's praises.

Butler is a deacon at his community church. He's also lived in Tangelo Park since 1971.

"I intend... that we're going to do everything we can to get some of those jobs for this community," said Butler. "For the youth in this community. School kids, making a few dollars a day, to help themselves and their families move forward."

At Tuesday night's Orange County Commission meeting, before commissioners eventually voted unanimously to approve Skyplex, Butler brought 250 petitions from his neighbors, all in favor of Skyplex and its location at Sand Lake Road and International Drive, within walking distance of Tangelo Park.

"Our young people who don't have the money to go out and buy a car, or the bus service takes them an hour or two to go anywhere," said Butler. "So they'll be able to walk to this location and walk home."

Patrice Levers told News 6 her daughter, even with a bachelor's degree, cannot find a job.

"Because when she apply anywhere they say you gotta have experience," said Levers. "If she just left college how she going to have experience if they don't give her experience?!"

Leon Smith said he walked from Tangelo Park to International Drive for his first job.

"My first job was Wendy's," said Smith. "And they gave me an opportunity and I ran with it. And it's the same way with the kids now."

"They don't want a hand out, they want a hand up," said Butler. "And this job opportunity is an opportunity to get a hand up. All they need is chance to fly."

Skyplex developers also promise the complex, with the world's tallest roller coaster, a drop ride, a hotel, surf simulator, zip line, shops, and restaurants including the world's largest Perkins, will bring an annual economic boom to the community of $284 million.

Construction could be complete as early as 2017, developers say, but they admit they're still working on plans.

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