Friday, September 14, 2012

Proposed Wesley Chapel sports complex in jeopardy

Negotiations between Pasco County and the Porter Family over the Fields at Wiregrass, the proposed 200 acre $14 million regional and national sports tournament complex northeast of The Shops at Wiregrass is teetering on collapse according to the Tampa Tribune and the Tampa Bay Times this week.
In April the Pasco County Board of Commissioners unanimously committed up to $14 million for the proposed 200 acre, multi-field sports complex on Wiregrass Ranch property in Wesley Chapel. $11.5 million will come from tourist development funds (hotel taxes) which have been accumulating for almost two decades and the remaining $2.5 from funds for park construction.

Touted as a "tourist destination", the youth sports complex according to the Tampa Bay Times could generate as many as many as 100,000 hotel nights per year with 2,000 teams a year. The fields would be available to public youth sports leagues 25% of the time and the other amenities in the park would be open to the public all the time.

Back then, Commissioner Pat Mulieri was quoted as saying: "It's the right place at the right time. Wesley Chapel is an economic engine for Pasco County."

Final details (including the Porter family's wish to speed up construction of Wiregrass Ranch homes) between the county and the Porter family (owner of Wiregrass Ranch) were to be finalized within two to three months for a contract signing.
You know what they say.  The devil is in the details!  Apparently working out those "final details" has turned out to be problematic and the newspapers indicate that both parties are accusing each other of changing the terms of the deal.
Here we are once again!  Referring back to my blog post on November 19, 2011 I wrote:
"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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