Saturday, June 16, 2007

$40 Million Sports Park for Hillsborough County

One to watch.
County finance chief Eric Johnson said the park makes sense despite the looming budget cuts. The county commission already has allocated money for the complex from the County Investment Tax, a sales tax that goes toward schools, police and roads.Johnson said that unlike the county's other recreation centers, Championship Park would not require yearly operating money. Fees from tournaments and commercial offshoots, such as advertising and naming rights, would generate enough money to pay back construction costs as well as cover operations costs, he said.

An advisory panel voted unanimously June 15,2007 to support construction of a $40 million sports complex in a rural area north of Plant City. The County Commission must decide whether to approve the park, which was proposed by commission Chairman Jim Norman and would sit just north of Plant City. Blake Guthrie of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission told the review committee that the sports commission could sign 52 sports tournaments for the park in each of its first three years of operation.The review committee is expected to present its findings to commissioners Aug. 15.
In 2005 Commissioner Mark Sharpe had rescinded his support for the proposed amateur arena, saying the money is needed for other projects.

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