Clay commissioners keep Big League Dreams alive | News

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Clay commissioners keep Big League Dreams alive

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- A multi-million dollar sports park is one step closer to heading to Clay County.

On Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners voted in favor of moving forward with exploring the possibility of constructing the sports park. It would be located near Branan Field Road and Old Jennings Road. But it comes with a hefty price tag for Clay County tax payers.

The mega sports complex would include three replica baseball fields, two full size fields, a covered sports pavilion and eight batting cages all situated right outside of Middleburg, a couple of miles away from Bill Chandler's home.

"It wouldn't bother me at all," said Chandler.

He's lived in Clay County since 1970 and has seen many changes. Chandler said he's all right with having a nice sports park nearby, but he's not sold on its price tag.

The Clay County Development Authority has requested an advance from the County in the construction of the park. It would coast tax payers around $20 million.

"The county already has problems maintaining what they have already." said Chandler. "Roads in this county are going bad from a lack of funds."

Jacob Kerry sees both sides of the argument and welcomes a new pastime to the area. But he too wonders if that money could be better spent.

"$20 million could go to a lot of other more important things," said Kerry.

The proposal would also include a restaurant and playground, along with a new paved road providing access to the sports park from Branan Field. The land would be owned by the Clay County Development Authority and operated by California-based national sports facility developer, Big League Dreams.

"As far as the ball field itself being there it wouldn't bother me," said Chandler. "But I don't think it would be utilized that much."

Supporters say the mega sports complex would be a home run for Clay County's economy.

Tuesday's vote of four to one does not mean the board has committed to entering into an agreement to fund the construction. Commissioners are still trying to figure out what the multi-million dollar project could look like.


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