Seminole County broke ground last month on a complex for traveling youth tournament sports in Sanford, a $27 million project being paid for out of tourist tax dollars.
The 15-field facility will sit on 102 acres just east of Orlando Sanford International Airport on East Lake Mary Boulevard and is planned to open in May of next year.
County officials say the complex will have a $10 million to $12 million economic impact in its first year, through tournament fees, hotel stays, food and beverage sales and buying in stores. By its fourth or fifth year the county is projecting a $23 million to $25 million annual economic impact.
All 15 synthetic turf fields will accommodate baseball and softball, with nine of them also being able to hold soccer, lacrosse and football games in their outfields.
Youth tournament complexes are not new to central Florida, with facilities in areas that include Disney and Polk County, but there is room for others, said Joe Abel, director of leisure services for Seminole County. "The travel sports category has taken off in the last few years and we have the luxury of having an airport nearby, being in Florida and in close proximity to beaches and theme parks."
In addition to fields, the complex will have dugouts, scoreboards, concession stands and covered bleachers for spectators, with plans for out of area tournaments to occur mainly on weekends, leaving the complex open for local use the rest of the time.
LOCATION: East Lake Mary Blvd., Sanford
START DATE: 2015
END DATE: 2016
PROJECT BUDGET: $27 million
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER: Wharton-Smith