Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

County to enter talks with ballfield builder

DADE CITY — The County Commission decided to step up to the plate Tuesday for a Pasco park of replica iconic baseball fields. Now it's just waiting for the right pitch.

The board voted 5-0 to begin negotiations with Big League Dreams of California, which operates complexes with scaled-down versions of Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, and Yankee Stadium in New York. If a deal is reached, the proposal would come back to the County Commission for approval.

A committee of top county officials endorsed the idea in May after reviewing the company's resume. It would be the first such park by the company in Florida, though it is looking into other places.

Property tax dollars to run a park are scarce these days. So the county is seeking a deal in which Pasco would pay to build the 40-acre site, but Big League Dreams would operate it, hosting youth and adult events and making money off concessions and alcohol sales. Pasco would get a cut of profits.

County officials anticipate tapping sales taxes, tourism taxes and impact fees on new construction to build the site, estimated at a cost of $20-million to $35-million. Besides ballfields, the park also would have soccer fields and indoor sports. Possible locations are Trinity and Wesley Chapel.

The county gave the nod to Big League Dreams over another California company, Sportsplex USA, whose park project would not include eye-catching replica fields. But pairing with Big League Dreams would cost $1.2-million to Sportsplex's $350,000 fee.

An economic impact study also is in the works, as are town meetings.

While money is scarce and a major tennis stadium already is approved, the rest of the board backed the pursuit — but not without questioning whether the complex would work.

"If you haven't yet identified the site, how can you do a real true analysis relative to the benefits of Pasco County?" Commission Chairman Ted Schrader asked.

But Commissioners Michael Cox and Jack Mariano, the main proponents, said the county and company could mandate in contracts that teams in tournaments stay in Pasco hotels, boosting the tourism tax on hotel stays.

David DeCamp can be reached at or toll-free (800) 333-7505, ext. 6232.

County to enter talks with ballfield builder 06/10/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 6:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    President Donald Trump on Monday condemned the fatal stabbing of two good Samaritans trying to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade on a Portland, Ore., light rail train.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  2. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  3. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  4. Photo gallery: Nation pays respects to America's war dead on Memorial Day

    Human Interest

    At Memorial Day ceremonies in Tampa Bay area and around the country, Americans paid tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with rhythm section. On Saturday local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops placed flags on veterans???‚??„? graves prior to the event. This is an annual tradition of Curlew Hills' Memorial Day services and helps the Scout troops achieve merit badges. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
  5. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence


    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …