Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco commissioners shift gears on softball complex

NEW PORT RICHEY — In a unanimous vote Tuesday, Pasco commissioners turned the clock back to a simpler time, a time before they decided to build a $12 million softball complex on Trinity Boulevard and hundreds of Heritage Springs residents in red shirts showed up to protest.

That site is no longer under consideration.

In its place are three other choices: the 30-acre Mitchell property just east of the hospital under construction on State Road 54; 25 acres off Community Drive, near Trinity Memorial Gardens; and a 40-acre site at Starkey Ranch.

The first two alternatives emerged last week as two prominent landowners — the Mitchell family and Adam Smith Enterprises — sought to keep the Sportsplex project in Trinity. A frustrated Trey Starkey had taken his family's Odessa property out of the mix late last month, but his brother, Frank, told commissioners Tuesday in an e-mail that they wanted to reconsider.

County officials will spend the next month coming up with cost estimates and pros and cons of each of those locations.

"We haven't been able to agree on a whole lot regarding (the sports complex)," said Commissioner Ann Hildebrand, who made the motion to undo the January vote selecting the Trinity Boulevard site. "But I tell you there's one thing we agree on, we woke up a sleeping giant in the area of Heritage Springs."

That drew a laugh from the more than 150 residents of the senior Heritage Springs community who attended Tuesday's meeting. They applauded, too, after they realized their location had been taken off the list.

But Heritage Springs residents don't like the cemetery site, either. Their board of directors on Friday endorsed the Mitchell land next to the new hospital.

"It still impacts our community," resident Pat Melick said of the site near the cemetery. "And they think we're too stupid to know the smoke and mirrors?"

The top selling points for the Trinity Boulevard site was that it was ready to go. That's not the case with the three sites now under consideration.

The Mitchell land will need stormwater permitting, which is expected to take at least six months. The site near the cemetery would involve a swap of already approved uses in Trinity's development plan, something that would require public hearings. And the Starkey Ranch property also will need an access road.

Sportsplex USA, the consultant that recommended the Trinity Boulevard site and is negotiating to operate the facility, told Commissioner Pat Mulieri that the Mitchell land also could work for the sports complex, which would host tournaments for out-of-town teams and relieve the pressure on other sports fields. Sportsplex would make most of its money off the restaurants and give the county a share of that revenue.

But the California company, which is trying to get a foothold in the Florida market, has indicated that it wants a definitive answer soon.

"Whatever we do, we need to put the fast track on it," said County Administrator John Gallagher. "I don't know how long Sportsplex is going to wait."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at or (727) 869-6247.

Pasco commissioners shift gears on softball complex 04/27/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 9:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Deputies say Wesley Chapel man admitted to having child pornography


    WESLEY CHAPEL — A man admitted to possessing child pornography, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office, after authorities seized several computers, tablets, thumb drives, DVDs and cell phones from his property.

    Jeffrey D. Stanford was arrested on 10 counts of possessing child pornography. [Photo courtesy of Pasco Sheriff's Office]
  2. Scalise discharged from hospital, beginning rehabilitation


    WASHINGTON — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise — who was critically wounded in a shooting at a baseball practice last month — has been discharged from a Washington hospital.

    House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise of La., speaks with the media on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 17, 2017. Scalise, critically wounded in a shooting at a baseball practice last month, has been discharged from a Washington hospital. [Associated Press]
  3. FWC identifies boaters seen dragging shark in viral video


    Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have identified the individuals shown on a viral video dragging a shark behind a boat on a rope as men laugh each time its body slams the water.

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a viral video that shows a shark being dragged behind a boat on a rope as men laugh each time its body slams the water. [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  4. Steve Schale: Democrats and Republicans chose wisely for Miami senate race


    Democratic strategist Steve Schale breaks down the Florida Senate District 40 special election contest between Republican  Jose Felix 'Pepi' Diaz and Democrat  Annette Taddeo, saying primary voters chose right and that either could win. Diaz and Taddeo

  5. Atomic Blonde does not live up to its giant movie poster hype


    Beware of movies spending money selling one scene, like the Atomic Blonde poster big enough to block a restroom entry, as it has for a while at AMC Westshore 14.

    Charlize Theron, left, and Sofia Boutella in "Atomic Blonde." (Jonathan Prime/Focus Features via AP)