Around the State- Central- Jan. 2002
Groveland -- Toyota Marine Sports closed its watercraft production plant, idling 53 workers. The plant will be mothballed until the company decides whether to restart production.
Lake Mary -- Siemens AG cut about 100 from its 1,000-worker telecom equipment manufacturing facility as part of a restructuring of its Information & Communications Networks division.
Maitland -- CNA Financial laid off 170 of the 1,200 workers in its commercial insurance division. Most of the terminated workers were involved in giving quotes over the phone -- jobs that have been replaced by computers.
Orange County -- Orange County commissioners approved $367,000 toward a $1.8-million incentives package to induce Siemens Westinghouse Corp. to open a service center. The state will also contribute $1.4 million toward the 637-employee facility.
Orlando -- Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos' charitable foundation and the state of Florida have combined to generate $5 million in grant money for the University of Central Florida to launch the DeVos Sports Business Management Program. The program, which will create a two-year post-graduate degree in sports administration, will join 65 others around the country, but only eight of them are run from within a university's college of business administration.
The city of Orlando has approved a three-year $300,000 grant to help the University of Central Florida Technology Incubator set up operations downtown. The incubator will be housed at the UCF Downtown Center on Pine Street, which should have enough space to handle 10 to 15 small companies. UCF's existing incubator program has been scattered among 24,000 square feet at the Central Florida Research Park adjacent to UCF.
Osceola County -- Walt Disney World closed one of the few attractions designed personally by Walt Disney, ending the 37-year run of Carousel of Progress. Disney has also closed thousands of its 22,000 total hotel rooms in a variety of its properties and has delayed the opening of its Pop Century resort for a second time.
The Osceola County Commission pulled the plug on developer Rob Miller's grandiose plan for the $1.1 billion World Expo Center. Miller originally launched the idea in 1997, but his attempts to line up investors failed to convince local leaders.
Meadowbrook Golf Inc. moved its corporate headquarters from Lakeland to the ChampionsGate golf resort southwest of Disney World. The 75-person headquarters oversees a company that owns, operates and maintains 108 golf courses in 20 states, employing 4,500. Headquarters employment is expected to double within three years.