The new and massive Wiregrass Sports Complex behind Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, which boasts more than 100,000-sq.-ft. of playing area and a new Marriott-branded Residence Inn hotel, has grabbed all the headlines the past few years.
Meanwhile, Pasco County is getting ready to seek bids to build a smaller indoor facility at the Wesley Chapel District Park (WCDP), which is located at 7727 Boyette Rd. near Overpass Rd.
According to Pasco County District 2 commissioner Mike Moore, bids will be sought to design and construct a facility to host indoor basketball and volleyball and other gym events, as well as additional activity rooms for the public to host meetings or even card games and crafts.
The approximately 13,000-sq.-ft. indoor recreation facility will be similar to the Land O’Lakes recreation center on Collier Pkwy., which is built on 79 acres of land and offers not only indoor sports, but outside offerings like tennis, soccer and even swimming.
The county has allocated $2.5-million towards the Wesley Chapel project, although Moore said he is unsure it will even cost that match. The money, he says, comes from developer impact fees, and “will not be a tax burden on everyday citizens.”
The funding was approved in Pasco County’s Fiscal Year 2017-18 budget.
The WCDP is much larger than the Land O’Lakes complex, with 143 acres and several lighted athletic fields for soccer, football and baseball. WCDP also has lacrosse fields, which have hosted the national DICK’s Lacrosse Championships for years, as well as three tennis courts, four basketball courts and grass fields for a variety of sports.
The Wesley Chapel Athletic Association (WCAA) runs leagues for most sports at the WCDP, including basketball, which plays on the outdoor courts.
But, Florida’s funky summer weather can wreak havoc on youth sports schedules.
“Having the ability to play basketball or any sport inside will be a big deal, especially during the summer when it gets so hot,” Comm. Moore says.
An indoor facility will allow the WCAA to add other sports, like volleyball, which is difficult to play outdoors, and other sports that require indoor accommodations, like gymnastics.
Moore also says the indoor facility will give local residents a place to gather, for weekly meetings, exercise classes or even parties. He says he has heard from a number of residents who think there is a need for such a facility.
Moore said there has been talk of a Wesley Chapel recreation center for years, but it “just kind of went away.”
He said he decided to pick it back up because he continues to hear requests for it.
A new Pasco County recreation center at the park may end up being more useful to local sports enthusiasts than the Wiregrass Sports Complex being built by RADD Sports.
The Wiregrass complex is expected to be booked for basketball, volleyball, pickleball and gymnastics tournaments most weekends, although there will be Monday-Thursday access for locals, according to RADD Sports, which is developing that facility.