Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Fields at Wiregrass

The Fields at Wiregrass

The Fields at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel is one of two park proposals submitted to Pasco County for consideration.  The other proposal is for a wake park located at the former SunWest mine in Aripeka, using a cable system to pull wakeboarders and skiers.  Funds for the park(s) will be provided by the Pasco tourist development tax which the county has collected for over 10 years, impact fees and future park revenues.

The Fields at Wiregrass:

A proposed 200 acre $25 million regional and national sports tournament complex:
  • 12 multipurpose fields for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and football  (1 with TV caliber lighting allowing the broadcasting of championship games.)  2 bleachers per field
  • 3 full sized baseball fields; 1 TV broadcast capable; 2 bleachers per field
  • 3 little league fields; 2 bleachers per field
  • 3 softball fields; 2 bleachers per field
  • 4 concession stands
  • Restrooms
  • 2 welcome centers
  • 1 children's play area
  • 1 maintenance building
  • 1 "amenity building" with canoe launch
  • Press boxes, parking, walking paths, picnic areas, arcade/game room
  • Bicycle racks, flag pole, etc.
It should be noted that in addition to the playing fields, the The Fields at Wiregrass proposal includes "a passive recreation area that includes other amenities that allow for fishing, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, interpretive trails, a boat house and will be interconnected into the larger master trail system throughout the complex and Wiregrass".

Located east of the Wesley Chapel Medical Center under construction on BBD (now called the Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel) and northeast of The Shops at Wiregrass, the proposed park will be accessed initially via the future roads to be built for the proposed Raymond James Financial campus in Wesley Chapel at SR 56 & (future) Wiregrass Ranch Blvd. and eventually via SR 54 and Bruce B. Downs.  (See above survey for proposed park location in green highlighted area.)

If approved by the Pasco County commissioners before the end of this year, the proposed schedule is as follows:

January 2012 - December 2012  Design, permit, and initial marketing of complex
January 2013 - December 2013 Construction of The Fields at Wiregrass
First Quarter 2014  Grand Opening

It is anticipated that The Fields at Wiregrass will generate 20 events per year initially providing 41,000 hotel room nights, with an economic benefit of $8 million yearly to the area.  (As many as 40 events are projected starting in year 5.)  Wiregrass Sports, LLC will operate and manage the complex with Steve Daugherty, a senior sports business professional with Disney Sports Attractions management experience, serving as Chief Operating Officer.

Will the Fields at Wiregrass be approved by Pasco County Commissioners when they take this up on November 30th or will this simply be a Field of Dreams?   In the past, the Board has had a rough go of reaching agreements on sports complexes including the failed Pasco National Tennis Center and the failed Sportsplex USA project.

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