Today the official groundbreaking took place of the $37 million Panama City Beach Sports Complex, which is slated to open its first phase in May 2019. A ceremony marked the milestone, welcoming more than 100 attendees with remarks by representatives from Visit Panama City Beach, Bay County Tourism Development Council (TDC), The St. Joe Company, Bay District Schools and Bay County Commission. As a special moment kicking off the event, a sign naming the park entrance road as Chip Seal Parkway was presented to the late Visit Panama City Beach executive’s wife Amy Seal by TDC Vice Chair Buddy Wilkes and members of the staff.
“This is an important milestone for Panama City Beach breaking ground on the new sports park and I am glad we can honor our late colleague Chip Seal, who had a passion and enthusiasm for our destination that we carry-on every day,” shares Visit Panama City Beach President and CEO Dan Rowe. “Now we look forward to soon welcoming many more athletes from across the country competing and enjoying all that Panama City Beach has to offer.”
Panama City Beach is an established destination for youth sports and the new public-private project scheduled for completion next year will enhance the destination’s appeal as a year-round tournament destination. As families often choose between a vacation and sports opportunities for their children, the ‘playcation’ allows both at Panama City Beach.
“The Panama City Beach Sports Park & Stadium Complex is an innovative partnership between the Tourist Development Council (TDC), The St. Joe Company, Bay District Schools, Florida Department of Transportation, the City of Panama City Beach and the Bay County Commission,” said Philip “Griff” Griffitts, Bay County Commissioner and TDC member. “I wish to thank our partners and the entire community for their continued support in making the first phase of the complex a reality.”
The Panama City Beach Sports Complex is located on 210-acres on the east end of Panama City Beach within the Breakfast Point development and will consist of an outdoor field complex, indoor sports center and a new elementary school. The combination of high quality visitor amenities, state-of-the-art amateur athletic facilities and creative site design sets a new standard for sports complexes throughout the country. Phase one will include 13 rectangular fields including nine with artificial surfaces and two stadiums seating up to 1,500 spectators. The flexible design allows for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football and flag football, as well as baseball and softball to be played.
Sports Facilities Management, located in Clearwater, has been chosen to take charge of operating the new facilities. A study by the company projects an economic impact of $23.2 million for the first year, with 81,611 non-summer visitors as the contributors to 60,000 room nights. Phase one could also mean between 100 to 150 additional jobs for the area, counting on-site management, operational staff plus game officials and concession workers.