Osceola County's Tourist Development Council approved its 2017 budget on Monday that calls for $3.3 million in capital spending at Osceola Heritage Park.
County Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the FY2017 budget Sept. 19.
If approved, the county would spend $1.3 million on a new chiller system as part of a complete HVAC overhaul for the complex, which includes Silver Spurs Arena and the county's exhibition hall. The chiller will be more energy efficient and provide added capacity for future development at the complex.
Another big ticket item is the second phase of the lighting upgrades for the complex, budgeted for $1.3 million.
OHP General Manager Robb Larson said the county has been investing in projects to improve the visitor experience at the arena. That included a better sound system, new ceiling mounted videoboard and LED ribbon-boards throughout the arena.
"We're expecting a lot more interest from sporting events and concerts," Larson said.
OHP is a finalist to host the Orlando Magic Developmental League team. Larson said that without the recent upgrades, the facility would never even have been considered.
Larson said his phone is ringing off the hook with calls from concert promoters. "We've had a lot of discussion because of the success of Runaway Country – all of a sudden we're getting more interest from music promoters," he said.
Plans for 2017 call for lighting replacement in the arena lobby and throughout the exhibition hall. Larson said the new lighting system will have dimming capabilities that will improve the ambiance of the facility.
The budget also earmarks $262,980 for better video surveillance equipment and new metal detectors. "With the business we're bringing in, unfortunately, it's a must," Larson said.
The budget also includes a $300,000 line item to modify the current environmental permits for the property to allow for future development in areas that are now used for stormwater retention. The OHP master plan calls for filling a large stormwater pond fronting on E192 at Fortune Road to allow for future development of a hotel, shopping center and restaurants.
The county expects to collect a record $50 million this year in Tourist Development Tax (TDT) and budget officials are projecting about a 6-percent increase for 2017. The county keeps 55 percent of the TDT revenue, while 45 percent goes to Experience Kissimmee for marketing and promotions.