BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Hey batter, batter! There’s big news out of Bay County. Young athletes up near Southport will soon have a bigger and better place to play ball. Commissioners have secured the funds and are ready to take a swing at this multi-million dollar project.
Looks like the county just hit a home run, after talking about this project for about six years. Commissioners announced Tuesday that they secured a $10 million loan for a brand new $11 million Southport Sports Complex. The remaining million dollars will be paid for with impact fees collected from construction.
“Baseball and softball have always been a huge part of Southport. There are a lot of teams that play up there and it’s just something that really is needed,” Bay County Commissioner Doug Moore said.
Officials said the current sports park is a tight squeeze.
“That sports park is about seven acres and it’s really packed and we don’t have our own parking,” Moore said.
But looking at new plans, it seems parking won’t be a problem any longer. Located just north of Highway 2300, on the east side of 77, the complex will be nearly five times the size of the existing sports park.
“The new park is going to be 33 acres and it’s going to allow us to have ample onsite parking, there will be a walking trail,” Moore said. “There will be seven fields, and it will allow us to also have the community come and do other activities there.”
That doesn’t mean the other park will go to waste. Moore said the old park will be repurposed and still used as a park, but for other things.
Construction of the new complex should take about 18 months to complete. Moore said they’re putting this out to bid at the final quarter of this year, with hopes athletes can be up to bat by the end of 2024.
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