Florida Citrus Sports CEO talks bowl games on 'The Weekly'
Improving neighborhood near Camping World Stadium top priority
ORLANDO, Fla. – The college football bowl season is already underway at Camping World Stadium.
Following last weekend's Cure Bowl, sights are now set on the Camping World Bowl and the VRBO Citrus Bowl. Both games feature a match-up between top-20 teams.
The Camping World Bowl, which moved to Orlando in 2001, is hosting No. 20 Syracuse and No. 16 West Virginia. No. 12 Penn State and No. 14 Kentucky will go head-to-head in the 73rd annual VRBO Citrus Bowl.
Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan told News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth on "The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com" that he's excited about this year's games.
"This is the way you draw it up," Hogan said. "You're looking for top-20 teams in both of our bowl games, and that's what we have."
Since Camping World Stadium went through a more than $200 million renovation in 2014. It has hosted NFL Pro Bowls, international soccer matches, top-tier college football games and concerts that featured some of the biggest names in music.
Despite the massive improvements made, Hogan said more renovations are on the way.
"We just got $60 million approved that will finish the work that couldn't be done in the original budget," Hogan said. "That makes us a competitive stadium in the world of neutral site events."
The future upgrades, among other things, will enhance surrounding parking areas, modernize the upper-level restrooms and concessions and provide more premium seating options.
But Hogan said he's more excited about plans to improve the neighborhood surrounding Camping World Stadium, which is one of the poorest areas of Central Florida.
"I think this will be the story this community tells 20 to 30 years from now," Hogan said. "We thought if the stadium transforms and that was the only thing that happened in the neighborhood, that would be a sad fact."
Five years later, that thought has turned into a project called "Lift Orlando."
"We had 1,400 conversations with residents about what they wanted to see in their historically-rich neighborhood," Hogan said. "That has blossomed today into a 200-unit mixed-income affordable housing development that's already leased up two blocks away from the stadium."
Additional plans for the community include a 120-unit senior-living facility, a Boys and Girls Club, an early learning center, a health and wellness facility and an $8 million remake of Lake Lorna Doone Park.
"I'm so excited about how kids will now instead of seeing Camping World Stadium as something in their midst, it's actually theirs," Hogan said. "I think they can point to it and now say, 'The better that thing does, the more healthy my community gets.'"
Watch the full interview Sunday at 8 a.m. on News 6.
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