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New lacrosse fields won't be ready, but tournament will go on

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two lacrosse fields that were supposed to be constructed for a national tournament in late December won't be finished in time. Pasco officials on Tuesday rejected a contractor's bid to build the fields at Wesley Chapel District Park, 7727 Boyette Road, because it came in $500,000 higher than the $1.75 million officials were prepared to pay.

With that rejection, officials now must re-start the process to advertise for contractors and select one to carry out the project, a six- to eight-week process. Additionally, officials wanted to tweak the language of their last bid proposal to entice more bidders.

Given the delay — two to four months to select a contractor and build the two fields, lights and fencing — and with the holidays approaching, it's unlikely the fields will be completed by the time the Dick's Sporting Goods Tournament of Champions gets under way Dec. 29.

The three-day tournament is one of the premier sporting events in Pasco, drawing more than 90 teams from around the country. It gives local hotels and retailers a post-Christmas boost and generates thousands in hotel bed taxes for Pasco's tourism office. Last year's tournament produced an estimated $3.5 million economic impact.

Officials are disappointed by the delay but say it was necessary in order to stay within budget and get the fields they wanted, said Ed Caum, Pasco's interim public communications manager.

The delay won't derail the tournament, he said. Players will be able to use the nearby fields at Wesley Chapel High School, 30651 Wells Road.

New lacrosse fields won't be ready, but tournament will go on 10/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 4:56pm]

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