Orlando's New Theme Park Is Officially Coming Thanks To Mayor's $5M Support
It's a go!
The newest theme park in Central Florida just got a seal of approval by the county mayor. Epic Universe in Orlando and Orange County signed a deal that helps the major theme park with its latest project. The agreement is confirmation of the county's continued support for the amusement park giant.
Orange County will reimburse$5 million to assist with Epic Universe, its latest theme park. The money will go toward moving a wastewater pipeline that sits on the site.
The agreement is confirmation that the park is still on its way to Orlando, despite the project seeingdue to the pandemic, which has paused massive projects across the region.
“It’s a good deal, that’s the bottom line,” said Mayor Jerry Demings, who gave his blessing.
The county commission voted to yield the reimbursement to the theme park giant on Tuesday, saying that the move was in the "public interest."
However, some didn't see it that way.
Some Twitter users were upset that the county was lobbing Universal money after the park laid off some of its workers.
"I am stunned every day how various government entities find the money for pet projects but not for food, shelter, employment, etc.," wrote one Twitter user.
Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, who represents Orlando in Tallahassee, had a simple reply to the agreement: "LOL."
Demings defended the agreement in the commissioner's meeting, saying, "probably if this name didn't have 'Universal' on it, it would likely have been a non-issue."
However, the reimbursement comes as the county was forced to make hard budget cuts due to COVID-19, including delaying a $605 million expansion to the county's convention center.
Universal announcedin 2019 as a 750-acre "third gate" for the Universal Orlando Resort. The county has already funneled money to the park, including a 50/50 public-private partnership to build an extension of Kirkman Road to the new park.
Epic Universe is expected to employ 14,000 people and have a starting pay of $15 an hour. The project is still projected to unveil in 2023.