The City of Orlando got a $17 million grant to redo the "streetscape" on West Church Street from the Amway Center all the way to the Citrus Bowl, but the project is already over budget and will require the city to pitch in.
Much of the money has already been spent on adding things like palm trees, decorative street lighting and more in front of the Amway Center. Mayor Buddy Dyer says the next phase will be from Division Street to Westmoreland, and the city will put in $1.3 million of the $6.9 million price tag.
"The improvements that we designed were in excess of that federal grant, so we're using some of our transportation impact fee to make up the difference," said Dyer.
Those improvements include more lighting, mast arms for the traffic light signal at Westmoreland and Church, and wider sidewalks. Dyer says getting the $17 million makes it all worth while for the city.
"Those awful earmarks that everyone was complaining about -- that funding actually came from a federal earmark from Bill Nelson and Corrine Brown got for us, and it was in the neighborhood of $17 million. The state skims off 10 percent for some reason, or another. I can't explain."
The state takes what it calls an administrative fee. Dyer says using money they received from impact fees is the best way to fund the $1.3 million they will need.
"We would have preferred that the grant covered the whole thing, but transportation impact fee money is used for transportation improvements. That's the ideal use."
The city will also build a dedicated bus lane for new Lymmo service (free buses) that will run through the area.