SHARED: Mayor Demings’ Statement on the Board of County Commissioners’ Actions on Dec. 17, 2019

Originally posted:

Mayor Demmings SealHappy Holidays,

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 was not only a historic day for Orange County residents, but for all of Central Florida. Since taking office one year ago, I have worked to lead efforts to address housing affordability, transportation challenges, and income disparities.

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners accepted the recommendations of the Housing for All Task Force and passed resolutions in support of the Osceola Parkway and Kirkman Road Extension that will improve regional mobility.

As a native of Orlando, I was motivated to lead these efforts because of my own experiences and my concern for the plight of all people. I am the proud son of blue-collar workers. My father was a taxi driver and my mother was a maid. As a teenager, I worked as a dishwasher and service worker at a local theme park while working my way through college. Many of my friends and family members did the same. So I know what it means to take a pathway upward to the middle class and I value that for everyone. My administration will continue to fight for the poor and disenfranchised to ensure that they are given opportunities to thrive.

I do not see any losers in the actions taken yesterday by Orange County, but only winners. Our families will benefit as economist Dr. Sean Snaith suggested during public testimony at the Commission meeting. Thousands of jobs will be created by the Universal expansion that will have a multi-billion dollar impact on Central Florida. We should also see a positive impact on our entrepreneurial ecosystem as existing and new business opportunities flourish exponentially from the robust construction activity.

It is this type of comprehensive thinking that will lead to broad-based prosperity. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands during moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Economic Impact of Universal’s Epic Universe

We recently announced Universal’s Epic Universe, our company’s newest theme park destination. This growth is exciting news for all of us in Central Florida – we’ve long worked to ensure everything we do is good for not only our Team Members but our community as well. We want to share with you the exciting benefits this epic expansion will bring to our community.

El Impacto Épico De Universal’s Epic Universe

Recientemente anunciamos Universal’s Epic Universe, el nuevo parque temático de nuestra compañía. Este crecimiento es una noticia emocionante para todos nosotros en la Florida Central; hemos trabajado durante mucho tiempo para garantizar que todo lo que hacemos sea bueno, no solo para los miembros de nuestro equipo sino también para nuestra comunidad. Queremos compartir con usted los emocionantes beneficios que esta expansión épica traerá a nuestra comunidad.

Have You Heard The Facts?

Haz clic aquí para leer en español

You may have heard about Orange County’s plan to extend Kirkman Road from Carrier Drive to Universal Boulevard. Unfortunately, forces from outside our community are using this to serve their own agenda, so you may not be getting the facts.

Here Are The Facts

Map showing the Kirkman Road extensionThe Kirkman Road Extension has been in Orange County’s plans for 20 years
The project had been on hold until Universal stepped in as a financial partner.

The county already has a fund for these improvements
Orange County’s portion comes primarily from the International Drive Community Redevelopment Area fund that is dedicated to transportation improvements.

Orange County’s part is capped at $125 million
The County allocated enough money for a basic road. With Universal’s additional funding (currently at $160 million), there will be a bigger road with more capacity, pedestrian bridges, bike paths, interchanges to control traffic, and significant urban beautification. No matter what, Orange County will contribute $125 million at most—and potentially less.

With all these rumors swirling around, what is really getting lost are the good things this development will bring to the community.

Here are a few highlights of what Universal’s Epic Universe means…

  • 14,000 new jobs with an entry-level wage of at least $15 an hour.
  • Professional, technical, culinary, and other specialized positions with higher wages.
  • A near-doubling of Universal’s annual state and local tax contributions — from $302 million to $600+ million. This money helps pay for everything from roads to education to fire and police services.
  • Construction of Epic Universe alone will bring an estimated $11.5 billion in combined direct and indirect economic benefit to the community. This is money that goes to local suppliers, vendors, residents, and the community.

Thank you for your time and willingness to consider what we have to say. You might hear something different in your neighborhood or in the news, but now you know the facts. We are so excited for what this new project means to the area—we hope you are, too.

¿Has Escuchado Los Hechos?

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Es posible que haya escuchado sobre el plan del Condado de Orange de extender Kirkman Road desde Carrier Drive hasta Universal Boulevard. Desafortunadamente, fuerzas externas a nuestra comunidad están utilizando esto para cumplir con su propia agenda, por lo que es posible que no esté recibiendo los hechos.

Aquí Están Los Hechos

Map showing the Kirkman Road extension

La extensión de la carretera Kirkman ha estado en los planes del Condado de Orange durante 20 años
El proyecto había estado en espera hasta que Universal intervino como socio financiero.

El condado ya tiene un fondo para estas mejoras
La porción del Condado Orange proviene principalmente del fondo de International Drive Community Redevelopment Area que se dedica a mejoras de transporte.

La parte del Condado Orange está limitada a $125 millones
El condado asignó suficiente dinero para un camino básico. Con el financiamiento adicional de Universal (actualmente en $160 millones) habrá una carretera más grande con más capacidad, puentes peatonales, ciclo vías, intercambios para controlar el tráfico y un embellecimiento urbano significativo. Pase lo que pase, el Condado de Orange contribuirá con $125 millones como máximo, y potencialmente menos.

Con todos estos rumores dando vueltas, lo que realmente se está perdiendo son las cosas buenas que este desarrollo traerá a la comunidad.

Universal Epic Universe Significa…

  • 14,000 nuevos empleos con un salario inicial de al menos $15 por hora.
  • Profesionales, técnicos, culinarios y otros puestos especializados con salarios más altos.
  • Una casi duplicación de las contribuciones fiscales estatales y locales anuales de Universal: de $302 millones a $600+ millones. Este dinero ayuda a pagar todo, desde carreteras hasta educación, bomberos y servicios policiales.
  • La construcción de Epic Universe traerá un beneficio económico combinado directo e indirecto de $11.5 mil millones para la comunidad. Este es dinero que va a proveedores locales, vendedores, residentes y la comunidad.

Gracias por su tiempo y disposición para considerar lo que tenemos que decir. Es posible que escuche algo diferente en su vecindario o en las noticias, pero ahora conoce los hechos. Estamos muy emocionados por lo que este nuevo proyecto significa para el área, esperamos que usted también lo sea.