The City of Kissimmee rarely ever takes on bond debt, but commissioners voted this week to move forward with a $49 million bond issue to finance a host of public projects, including the final phase of Lakefront Park and a 400-space parking garage at Toho Square.
"The city traditionally has been very conservative, which is a good thing because we weathered the recession better than other jurisdictions," Economic Development Director Belinda Kirkegard told GrowthSpotter on Wednesday.
City Spokeswoman Arin Thrower said it had been so long since the city issued revenue bonds, Kissimmee didn't even have a bond rating. Representatives from Moody's and Fitch are expected to issue rating reports for the city on Friday.
The city typically uses bank loans to finance capital projects, but it can't borrow more than $10 million per year using that method. The bond issue will make it possible to pay for several high-ticket items and to refinance some of its earlier bank notes at a lower interest rate.
The project list includes:
Lakefront Park Phase IV: $13.5 million The city already has spent $34 million on the first three phases of the Lakefront Park. Phase IV consists of roadway improvements on Lakeshore Boulevard and certain sections of Neptune Road, including a new traffic signal. The entire linear park will be redeveloped to include seawall replacement and improvements along the shoreline of Lake Tohopekaliga, sidewalk extensions, parking lot expansion, new restrooms and utility and landscape upgrades.
The Lakefront Park underwent initial design concepts in 2006, with Phase I being completed in August 2011 and Phase II completed in April 2013. The third phase of the park, which opened in 2014, includes 52 new boat slips, a splash pad featuring natural elements, a state-of-the-art playground and an event lawn which can accommodate 40 vendors with direct water and electric hook-ups.
Road Improvements: $9.5 million Extension of Dyer Boulevard and widening of Carroll Street to provide additional capacity and expended public and private development opportunities for housing and commercial projects.
Toho Square Parking Garage: $7 million The city will build a 400-space parking garage to serve Lakefront Park visitors and future condominiums and townhomes that will be built onsite as part the redevelopment contract with Mosaic Development. The bonds will also pay for utility relocation to serve the Mosaic project.
Building Renovations: $7 million Improvements to city buildings and facilities