The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Tourism officials continue negotiations to lower cost of new sports park !

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – In June, we told you about the costof a new sports park slated for Panama City Beach. City leaders said it was way out of the ball park coming in at $20-million over what the city wanted to pay.

Thursday, tourism officials talked about getting that cost down by sacrificing some amenities but adding others.

The Bay County Tourist Development Council and the Sports Facilities Advisory staff gathered at the Panama City Beach City Hall Thursday, to go over plans for the new park.

“We are continuing to work with Phoenix Construction on negotiating the contract for the sports field and stadium complex… Because we’re really focused on how do we get the best product at the best price,” President of Visit Panama City Beach, Dan Rowe said.

Tourism officials also said they’ve cut out some restaurants, put in concession stands and reoriented some of the fields to lower the total cost, but to generate more revenue, they’re considering adding an indoor sports facility.

“If we add that new component, we would increase the efficiency in the level of use by the project by about 50%, which over a 15 year time frame would generate about 1.5 million room nights a business as a total of visitor spending of $600-million, total economic impact of over a billion dollars,” Rowe said.

Tourism officials said the indoor facility will be more inclusive to sports like cheerleading, gymnastics, and others that compete inside.

“There are 19 different sports that can be run in the indoor complex and on the outdoor, soccer, lacrosse, football, flag football, rugby, ultimate frisbee, there are 9 or 10 different sports that can be run there,” Sports Facilities Advisory representative, Evan Eleff said.

But how will all this be paid for be paid for ?

“The TDC has approved and the county has agreed to borrow up to $30-million for 15 years for this project. But we believe by going out to Triumph Gulf Coast and other contributions that have been made in terms of the land, the development that’s gone into it, some of the intersection improvements, that at the end of the day, we will be able to build the entire project for less than the $30-million of the TDC’s money,” Rowe said.

The 13 field park will be located on the east end of the beach, near the intersection of Back Beach and Cauley Avenue.

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