Santa Rosa County Commissioners will look at whether to approve funding for the design and engineering of the new South Santa Rosa County Sports Complex at Pensacola State College’s Gulf Breeze location, which is slated to include up to 10 new soccer fields for local children.
The design and engineering phase of the project will cost approximately $500,000 and will be paid for by Local Option Sales Tax and District 5 recreation funds. It will take about a year to complete before construction can begin.
The sports complex is the passion project of outgoing District 5 County Commissioner Lane Lynchard, who told the News Journal on Tuesday that the project is a major step forward for the area.
“This is a significant achievement for our area, we haven’t built a new green field, soccer field or lacrosse field in District 5 in over 20 years,” Lynchard said. “It’s something that is long overdue, our population has outgrown the field space that we have now, and kids are unable to participate in practices and they’re shuffled around to existing parks. This will give us the field space that we so desperately need to accommodate all of our residents.”
The county consulted with firm Moffatt & Nichol to determine the scope of work for the project.
If approved and funded, the new sports complex would be built in two phases and would ultimately include 10 athletic playing fields of varying sizes, as well as concession stands, a playground, parking areas and bathrooms.
The parcels of land are located next to Woodlawn Beach Middle School.
The sports complex was made possible thanks to a land swap agreement with Pensacola State College in July 2019, in which the county got a 15-acre parcel and an adjacent 7.35-acre parcel of land at PSC’s Gulf Breeze campus, and PSC got 15 acres the county’s I-10 Industrial Park complex that the college wants to use to open up a truck driving school.
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“It’s something that has been well received by the public, and it’s been on the drawing board for the better part of a decade,” Lynchard said. “I’m excited that we’re finally at this point where we can move forward.”
Lynchard won’t be on the Board of County Commissioners in a year to see the project through, as he was unseated by Colten Wright in last week’s primary election. Wright told the News Journal that he liked the project and would continue to see it to its end.
“From what I do know about the project, my intent would be to see it through to its end,” he said. “It’s something the south end needs. We have a shortage of facilities for ball fields, for sure, and I always thought the land swap deal with Pensacola State College was a great idea. So yes, it’s something I intend to see through.”
The Board of County Commissioners will discuss the project at its Thursday meeting, which will take place at 9 a.m. at the county complex, 6495 Caroline St. in Milton.
Annie Blanks can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8632.