South Walton Sports Complex Update | Page 18 | SoWal Forum - South Walton Florida
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Danny Glidewell

Beach Fanatic
Mar 26, 2008
725
914
Glendale
Ron Romano's very thoughtful and insightful email is absolutely on target. I, when officiating sports events such as baseball and football, noted the same things Danny Glidewell portrayed in his post. A sports/venue complex could add much to our already wonderful piece of paradise. Whoever made this horrendous decision should reconsider it.

I agree 100%. This is an infrastructure project with no down side and multiple advantages. If this project is not included in the Renew Act spending then someone should investigate. Like I stated before, it is a win.win for everyone.
 

buster

Beach Fanatic
Feb 19, 2006
283
45
SoWal
We appreciate the interest and need from residents regarding the sports complex but wanted to make sure you had the context of the study results. Since the TDC revenues comes from bed tax revenue it is only prohibited to spend those dollars for tourism promotion. So a complex would have to be able to drive bed tax revenue and the study only factored tourism impact and not residential impact.

The study did mention some of your points below but unfortunately did come back unfeasible at this time. You are correct that it was done nearly 2 years ago and is dated. However, it was stated in the report findings that it would take several more years (approximately 10 years) for the market to support such a venture. Again, not factoring in the local needs. One of the challenges is our ADR (average daily room rate) is much higher than those around us and where these complexes typically are found. It also noted the challenge with not having budget driven hotels, services, restaurants, fast food chains, and similar development in a concentrated area directly near a site. Lastly, timing was an issue as many of the tournaments and games would occur during peak season rather than in off season. This was based on sporting organizations and teams that book these complexes participating in a survey. Lastly, since the available land was on the eastern part of the county it also suggested that Bay County would reap the biggest benefit since they have more budget friendly accommodations.

This is a quote from the executive summary;

“Although there appears to be potential market demand for a proposed new sports complex in South Walton County, the direct financial benefits to the TDC generated from the TDT do not appear

sufficient to support on-going financial operations or debt service on the project.”

As a result the TDC & BCC voted that it was not feasible to expend bed tax dollars for this purpose at this time. Any new discussion would have to be brought back to them to reopen the dialogue. Our next meeting is September 11th at 9:00 am. If you would like to be on the agenda to ask for their reconsideration please let me know and I will get you a submission form to fill out.

I just wanted to make sure you saw the complete report, ultimate findings, and TDC/BCC decision. Again, this is solely based on tourism and not residential needs.

You are right that the Restore Act has passed and there will be a substantial amount of funds coming to the gulf coast states. I was at an all-day session yesterday regarding the Restore Act and while we are all very excited it has not been determined what the amounts or timeline will be. However a project of this nature would be considered based on the information provided yesterday. The next 6 months will be focused on developing the Consortium model, developing policies & procedures, accountability, oversight, formulas and models for identification and allocation of funds, etc.

After that occurs they will start to focus on projects and hold public meetings/workshops.

I am sure more will be made available as it gets determined and passed down from the federal and state officials to the respective counties.

Please let me know if you need any additional information on either of these.
Dawn

Dawn Moliterno
Executive Director
South Walton TDC
 

buster

Beach Fanatic
Feb 19, 2006
283
45
SoWal
More from Ron Romano

===========================================

The argument is also a chicken or the egg argument. If you build it, restaurant and hotels will come. I have had an overwhelming response to my email. One of the emails was from a group proposing Public/Private partnerships where they will build the park and hotels surrounding it. I will forward you that email as well. http://www.goodsportsvillage.com/impact.aspx

A major part of this complex would be for events like the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, ArtsQuest, concerts, car shows and other special events. An arts center, bandstand and other amenities could be added to the site in the future. Land will never be as inexpensive as it is today. The Feasibility Study did not seem to put much weight into these issues. We are losing events and revenue from our area as a result of not being able to provide event space. Many events like the 30A Songwriters Festival take place in months like January where the cost of rooms in South Walton is very reasonable and occupancy rates are low. They are looking to bring in larger acts but do not have a venue to support this. The argument that we don’t have affordable lodging is short sided in my opinion. I am personally working with many hotel operators that are looking at locations on US 98 in South Walton and many events could be brought in during our “off season” serving to further develop our tourist season. There are sports camps around the county year round as well. Many people would like the opportunity to attend one of these in a place like South Walton.

The TDC could participate with the county and have their new TDC building on the site alleviating the need for a separate 11 acre site for TDC offices and serving to reach the multitudes that will use the facility in a central location. I speak in my email about the site serving the needs of tourism and citizens and possibilities for costs to be shared. I think TDC funds would be much better served on sticks and bricks improvements to our area as a tourist destination. Funds for this would seem to generate more tourist dollars and a better tourist experience than may dollars spent on things like the 30A song for instance.

I am not trying to be difficult, but I think things can be looked at differently and the argument that we don’t have the lodging and food resources to support is off base. In South Walton we have McDonalds, Whataburger, Taco Bell, new Five Guys, Beef O’Brady’s, Applebees, KFC, and many many more. One brings the other, build the park and the hotels will follow as you will see in the Good Sports Village concept. Due to the outpouring of support I have received we will be meeting and may ask to speak with others at an upcoming TDC meeting. Please keep me posted on meeting times throughout the fall.


Ron Romano
 

buster

Beach Fanatic
Feb 19, 2006
283
45
SoWal
Personally, I don't see the addition of hotels, fast food, and more traffic as a plus for South Walton.

Sure it's great for kids to have ball fields, and it would be nice to have a large open field for festivals, but let's hold off on adding stuff for more and more commercial development.

I saw an agenda item the other day for making 98 in South Walton more friendly towards businesses like car dealerships. Is it too tough to drive a bot east or west? Do we need to be like every other town in Florida, or the country for that matter. We have such amazing natural resources. Let's not lose sight of that. Get the kids out on the beach, the lakes, the rivers, the bike path, the trails. Kids don't need more hotels and fast food joints!
 

Jdarg

SoWal Expert
Feb 15, 2005
18,069
1,971
I support the additon of ball fields, larger entertainment venues, etc., but I have one very important question. When all the new lodging is added, where do these people go to the beach? Our beach access are already woefully inadequate for the large number of visitors already here.
 

shellak

Beach Fanatic
Jan 21, 2008
315
161
I agree. We have to think about what made this area special in the first place and why so many of us moved here. It was not because of convenience to anything but the beach. We loved the solitude of 30a. I understand that the parts of Hwy 98 that are not owned by the state will eventually be developed, but we really need to go slowly and make sure we do not destroy this area. I will keep saying it - I do not want south walton to become another Destin. We would not have moved here to live in Destin - no offense to those who live there. The one thing I would like to see is more facilities for the public, the locals, such as well designed parks. I would love to have public tennis courts!!!
 

marilu120

Beach Comber
May 16, 2013
10
2
Support South Walton Sports and Recreation Park

South Walton is in need of a state-of-the-art sports complex as a vehicle to generate tourism and increase bed tax dollars through sports tournaments and events, as well as improve the quality of life for our citizens. Please take a moment to "LIKE" the Facebook page at the link below and learn a bit more about the proposed park.

https://www.facebook.com/SupportSou...k#!/SupportSouthWaltonSportsAndRecreationPark
 

Jdarg

SoWal Expert
Feb 15, 2005
18,069
1,971
I am curious about affordable lodging and dining for the large numbers of families and teams that would be the target market for large tournaments. Will they all stay in PCB and drive over for their games? We don't have a budget travel infrastructure for huge groups in South Walton.
 

tsutcli

Beach Fanatic
Jan 14, 2008
921
109
Seacrest
I am curious about affordable lodging and dining for the large numbers of families and teams that would be the target market for large tournaments. Will they all stay in PCB and drive over for their games? We don't have a budget travel infrastructure for huge groups in South Walton.

Why would they not use Frank Brown Park and stay in PCB for tournaments and Pier Park for large venue music events? Are we going to compete with PCB for Thunder Beach next? Is this a public or private undertaking or a combo? A small sports complex for local use would be fine.
 
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