Panama City Beach TDC approves sports park cost

For the past few years, a multi-million dollar sports park has been in the works to break ground in Panama City Beach. At Thursday morning’s Tourist Development Council meeting council members took a big step forward with the sports park.

Ground has not yet been broken for the proposed sports park, but the overall cost, just over $31 million dollars, was approved at Thursday’s TDC meeting.

“We value engineer the project from 50 million down to 31.4 with some minor tweaks we’re still negotiating with the entrance road,” said Griff Griffits, Chair of the Panama City Beach TDC.

The entrance road was a hot topic at Thursday’s meeting. Council member Andy Phillips was against the proposed two-lane entrance.

“The original scope of work was underground utilities and also a four-lane beautiful gateway coming into the park, which is going to be the first impression our visitors have of people visiting our destination. To cut costs they have now looked at proposing a two-lane road and going with above ground utilities. I just don’t think that is in the best interest of the destination and also with the investment, we’re making in this facility,” said Andy Phillips, TDC council member.

The proposed entrance was approved at Thursday’s meeting as two lanes, however, once construction begins, the TDC will have five months before there needs to be a final decision made between a two-lane and four-lane road. Sports Facilities Management, the company in charge of the design and cost of the sports park, estimated that once a construction date is et, the park will take 395 days to be completed.

“This is a normal process nobody wants to rush into this with a less than optimal plan. This is going to be a front door, a storefront for Panama City Beach for many of the guests and visitors that are coming and it’s a great tool to provide and attract these guests,” said Jason Clement, CEO of Sports Facilities Management.

Tourism officials estimate the complex will generate more than 75,000 room nights of additional business to the area.

The cost of the sports park still needs to be approved by the Bay County Commission. It will be presented to them at next week’s meeting.

Source:  Panama City News Herald

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