Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Plan includes $15-million Hillsborough soccer complex

TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners gave preliminary approval to a raft of parks projects Wednesday to be paid for with $40-million once pegged for a massive tournament sports complex.

Included on the list: a $15-million, souped-down version of what had been called Championship Park.

This one includes up to 30 fields mostly dedicated to soccer and suitable to tournaments, at a location still to be determined.

Parks director Mark Thornton told commissioners the park fills an unmet demand for soccer fields. Like the prior proposal, he said it could also raise money in fees and sponsorships that would help pay for other parks programs.

"I'm excited about the public-private partnership opportunities there," Thornton said. "I think there are some huge opportunities there."

Unlike the last go around, commissioners appeared to find the idea of a mini-Championship Park more palatable. Commissioners rejected colleague Jim Norman's initial $40-million proposal, saying it was a hard sell during tough budget times.

In contrast, commissioners unanimously agreed to discuss the issue further and plan to hold a public hearing in August. But they left open the possibility of altering it and other suggestions about how to spend the money.

"I don't want people to assume that if we support this, we support it as written," Commissioner Rose Ferlita said.

The defeat of the original proposal set off a scramble among commissioners and civic groups for the money dedicated to it. Parks officials met with interested groups and their own citizen advisory panel to craft a plan.

Norman said Wednesday that the project could get a boost, because a professional soccer team is considering building a small stadium for games in Hillsborough County. The stadium would not be at the same location, but raises the possibility of a partnership. He declined to elaborate after the meeting.

All told, the proposal earmarks $47.6-million, including money from other projects that now have been tabled. The money comes primarily from the half-cent sales tax known as the Community Investment Tax.

In other action

Commissioners approved having Chairman Ken Hagan sign an agreement between the county and National Hockey League over the pending sale of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The agreement essentially underscores that current owners Palace Sports & Entertainment will remain on the hook to reimburse millions in taxpayer subsidies should prospective owners OK Hockey move the team within the next seven years.

The Tampa Sports Authority approved a similar agreement Monday.

Bill Varian can be reached at varian @sptimes.com or (813) 226-3387.

>>Fast facts

Where the money could go

The parks proposal earmarks $47.6-million, including money from other projects that now have been tabled. The money comes primarily from the half-cent sales tax known as the Community Investment Tax. The list includes:

• $2.5-million for entryway and other work on Veterans

Memorial Park along the Tampa Bypass Canal off U.S. 301.

• $3-million for the new Children's Museum in downtown Tampa, which should allow construction to begin.

• $2.5-million toward the Brandon Advantage Center,

providing cultural activities for children and adults.

• $500,000 for the Bob Sierra YMCA Teen Center

in North Tampa.

• $1.4-million to expand the parking lot at the University

Area Community Center.

Plan includes $15-million Hillsborough soccer complex 06/17/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 11:22am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival wraps up with Above and Beyond, more at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    The first numbers trickled in on Sunday, and they didn't look great.

    Louis the Child performed at the Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium on May 28, 2017.
  2. Philippines forces make gains in city under siege by ISIS-linked militants

    MARAWI, Philippines — Philippine forces say they now control most of a southern city where militants linked to the Islamic State group launched a bloody siege nearly a week ago.

  3. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  4. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  5. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.