SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – With tourism back in full force post-pandemic, Seminole County is looking to draw in more visitors and more money north of Orlando, which includes planning for a multimillion-dollar indoor sports facility.
At a work session Tuesday, county commissioners assessed an ongoing tourism study and looked at plans for the proposed facility, including where it will go and how it will be paid for.
The 28-acre site is not far from the Boombah Sports Complex on Lake Mary Boulevard, a facility that is packed with sports visitors for tournaments and other events some days. Those visitors stay in and spend money in Seminole County. It’s why commissioners hope an indoor facility could also generate millions of dollars each year.
“That’s what’s helping our restaurants, our stores, hotels, actually be profitable,” Commissioner Bob Dallari said.
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Dallari, who represents District 1, calls the facility a game changer.
“After the pandemic when the economy was down, what brought our economy back and made it stable was our sports tourism,” Dallari said. “This will help our sports tourism immensely because what’s happening is our hoteliers are booked Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, Monday through Thursday is where our occupancy in hotels is low. This will bring the occupancy up substantially.”
The county is looking at creating a tourism improvement district to pay for their plans.
“The tourism district would be funded by the hoteliers,” Dallari said. “So, our taxpayers, our residents, won’t be burdened with that financial obligation. It will be hoteliers because it will be putting heads on beds.”
The proposed site for the facility is nearly 30 acres near Lake Mary Boulevard and Cameron Avenue. There are soccer fields there now.
The county has shared renderings that show its potential to house multiple courts for basketball, volleyball, cheer and special events.
“We haven’t decided how big it is yet. We haven’t decided if we’re going to do this yet, but we are moving to the next step,” Dallari said. “The next step is we need to do a study, a financial feasibility study, to see what it’s actually going to take to make this happen, and at that point, are our hoteliers willing to tax themselves to pay for it?”
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