The Osceola County Commission delayed green-lighting a contract that would have extended and expanded the management contract of Osceola Heritage Park and more specifically Osceola County Stadium, after county workers spoke out against the company’s performance at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting.
The proposed contract would have extended Pennsylvania based SMG’s contract until 2023 for a cost of $600,000 per year for a total of $3 million for the life of the contract. This would also include adding the stadium to the agreement for a cost of $115,000 per year with performance based incentives that would could total up to $250,000.
It would also require $300,000 for capital improvements from SMG and require the company to keep county workers on for the length of the contract. A revision that was added later in the process.
Workers called it an “expansion” of services for SMG that was not put up for bid because of reduced revenues that weren’t reaching their forecasted goals. They also argued that the company didn’t have the experience to oversee the facilities and had a “terrible” concessions operation.
Over 20 speakers dressed in red provided public comment, many of them currently employed at the stadium, who said their jobs at the venue played a major role in their lives.
“SMG may care, but it’s heart is up in Pennsylvania.” said Eric Anderson “It’s wallet is here and it’s here to collect Osceola’s money.”
The item was poised for approval on the consent agenda with the revision that all county workers would be retained. Commissioners ultimately agreed more time was needed to review the terms to ensure it was a fair deal for everyone. The item will be revisited at the June 12th meeting.
“I think it would be abenefical for SMG moving forward to talk to those folks to say what to expect, what not to expect.” said District 4 Commissioner Cheryl Grieb about the employees and their benefits “I need some more information at least.”
The stadium was recently the spring training home to the Houston Astros and is now hosting the minor league Florida Firefrogs team. Osceola County has also hosted hundreds of softball games at every level in recent years, which has been a proven revenue generator for the area.