Worth it or wasted? Orlando spends $670K on welcome center

It is called "Discover Downtown," also referred to as the nucleus of all things Downtown Orlando. The City of Orlando spending $670,000 on renovations and expansion of the former visitor's center.

The expansion, doubled the space adding a gift shop, interactive wall and mural. The project also added office space for two downtown-focused organizations.

"Rather than just going in with new carpeting and wallpaper, that sort of thing, we decided to re-imagine the space as to how much additional value, what other functions or roles could it play other than being a traditional visitor's center," said Thomas Chatmon, Executive Director, Downtown Development Board/Community Redevelopment Agency.

The priority of the facility is informing visitors, business people and residents about what downtown has to offer.

"It's a hub where you can get assistance, you can get information, you can get direction, you can get perspective," said Chatmon.

A visitor from Brazil, left the center with a better understanding of the City Beautiful.

"I learned that you really care about the environment and that you take good care of the streets, the transportation is super because you have free rides on buses," said Nelson De Jesus.

But some are skeptical about the use of taxpayer money.

"I think there are other places where it would have been a better use of that money, that's a lot of money," said Lauren Atheron, downtown worker.

City leaders say $4.3 billion dollars is under development right now, in the downtown area. A growing downtown, means more money flowing into the fund used for the project.

"It's a lot of money, so I hope it pays off and I hope it brings some money to the area," said Rachel Toadvine, Orange County resident.

That is the goal: attracting more visitors and encouraging those working and living downtown to spend local.

The city reports the former visitor's center saw foot traffic upward of 1,000 people per month.