Palm Coast government will spend $113,000 to study the market potential for a sports and recreation complex, possibly in the undeveloped portion of Palm Coast, north and west of U.S. 1.
Don’t confuse it with just another Indian Trails Sports Complex. It could include indoor facilities. It could include an aquatic center. “It’s larger than more fields, and we don’t know what we’re looking for, that’s why we’re doing this study,” Jason DeLorenzo, the city’s development director and chief of staff, said.
The concept also imagines the sports complex as the catalyst to future development in Palm Coast’s next frontier: 30,000 acres of empty land. That part of the city doubles Palm Coast’s lands inside its older boundaries. It is testament to the annexation wave that followed less than a decade after Palm Coast incorporated in 1999.
Subdivisions have begun to seed development at the western edge of U.S. 1, but in slivers. There’s room for an entire replication of vast neighborhoods like Palm Coast’s W, R, P and B sections, if on a more planned, less clear-cutting basis than ITT’s approach.
“As we begin to plan those,” DeLorenzo, said this morning, “we’re going to be looking for opportunities for conservation, wildlife, wildlife habitat corridors, future water sources for the city, and of course a slew of economic growth opportunities, including the sports complex and the tourism that can be generated by it.”
The city in December begins construction on a two-year project to build a “fly-over” crossing point from U.S. 1 at Matanzas Woods Parkway over the railroad tracks, to the open west. That fly-over, so-called because it is required to pass over the railroad, is central to the city’s expansion plans. The sports complex could take shape as a beachhead to the city’s colonization efforts in that area.
But it isn’t absolutely certain that the new sports complex would be built there. Other areas will be studied as well. One such area is at the north end of the city, another at the south end of the city. Both have limitations that a complex in Palm Coast West would not have. There are environmental concerns at the north end. At the south end, the land is privately owned.
The city “suspects there may be a growing need for high quality venues to host regional, state-wide and even national sporting events and at the same time providing excellent facilities for resident use,” it states in its overview of the contract for a sports complex feasibility study. The new complex could balance out the city’s needs for more local, recreational fields, either by absorbing all regional and state competitions, theoretically leaving Indian Trails Sports Complex to cater to local leagues and residents, or by providing additional options for more tournaments.
Just four years ago, then-City Manager Jim Landon had proposed spending $100,000 for a similar study of a big “multi-generational” recreation and aquatic center that would be located at the tennis center off Belle Terre Parkway. The City Council killed the idea. There was no money to build such a center, and all available dollars were going to rebuilding Holland Park (and and that splash pad) and the Palm Coast Community Center.
But two years later the vast expansion of the tennis center began taking shape as a regional sports center, and is now a nearly $12 million project. The administration presented that recreation center, too, as a regional sports complex that would both focus on racquet competition (tennis and pickleball) and provide residents a recreational destination at the south end of town. The difference with the Palm Coast West project is that both the tennis center expansion and Indian Trails Sports Complex followed development, with a huge base of users already in place.
In Palm Coast West, the city is turning the tables. The projected sports complex would be “a magnet for all of these folks and families that are currently driving right past us in very large numbers,” Mayor David Alfin said, “down to Palm Beach County. So there’s no reason those folks should have to spend all that gas. They can stop here halfway and enjoy their sports competitions here, while enjoying all of the beauty of the city of Palm Coast.”
Alfin described the sports complex as “a catalyst, because it is the first step in the improvement of the unimproved property” west of U.S. 1. The complex at that point would depend largely on out-of-town tournaments. How a location in the middle of what would still be nowhere at that point would be attractive to participants and their families, who would still have to travel some distance to get to hotels and restaurants–as they would not at the Indian Trails Sports Complex, or in Palm Beach County–was not explained.
That may be part of what a Clearwater-based company called Sports Facilities Companies may explain for part of the $113,000 the city will pay it to study the Palm Coast West project. DeLorenzo and Lauren Johnston, the assistant city manager and former parks and recreation director, presented the proposal to the City Council in a workshop this morning.
The firm, one of seven that bid on the proposal, would study regional market demand and the potential economic benefit of “sports tourism,” as the city describes it–by which it means a replication of what it’s done at the Indian Trails Sports Complex. That facility is richly booked with regional tournaments–softball, baseball, lacrosse, soccer–that bring families to Palm Coast for overnight stays. Since the influx generates the booking of hotel rooms and the patronizing of local restaurant, it’s seen as tourism.
An accounting of the local market would have to take the Indian Trails complex into account, and to do so honestly, to project whether an additional regional sports complex could viably sustain itself without draining the existing sports complex’s base. But based on the city’s current experience (the city is currently turning away out-of-county tournaments since it has limited their numbers at Indian Trails, to ensure that local leagues have their space), that may not be an issue. Still, DeLorenzo stresses, the study is intended to answer those questions.
The firm would take 12 weeks to complete its first step–the market and competitive analysis. Step two would determine how much the plan would cost and what its potential economic benefit would be. “Task two is contingent upon the completion of task one so we want to make sure we’re satisfied with that objective first,” Johnston said.
The company, an engineering and architectural firm, claims on its website to have “overseen $10 billion in developed” sports and recreation projects in 2,000 communities. (The city’s presentation to the council upped that to $15 billion.) Those include the Panama City Beach Sports Complex with 13 tournament-quality fields and two fields with seating for up to 1,500 spectators. The company manages the facilities it builds.
Looking at the plan more broadly, Alfin said “it can become and I think will become a model for the state of Florida by denoting the greenway and animal quarters right upfront, staking those out, and doing our development work around that, we know what our priority is. This will become a model for smart growth, smart managed growth for the future.” The city, he said, has little wiggle room for mistakes as it plans that out. The council is expected to ratify the agreement with Sports Facilities Companies at its meeting next week.
Keep Flagler Beautiful says
It would be good to have an assurance that Joe Mullins’ greasy mitts aren’t on this proposed development, since he is a self-styled developer or sports complexes.
The dude says
I welcome the thought of such a place.
Now how about trying to attract families that can put down roots here, build a solid life and fill the sports teams that will be needed to keep such facilities running smoothly in between large events?
Lets fix the roads and drainage. We don’t need another white elephant like the town center.
Fix the infrastructure! The roads are a mess in Palm Coast!
Westward Ho! Athletes should be encouraged to wear dark outfits and uniforms (mud) and waterproof athletic shoes. (Or snake boots?). Study should be done during the rainy season. Hey! Why don’t we just redirect those pesky flood waters to the animal conservation areas. They won’t complain.
Will never happen. As mentioned, no hotels, no restaurants, gas, other entertainment, on and on. It’ll be a last resort option for travelling teams. Palm Coast Melbourne or Palm Beach with hospitality options galore.
I mean really. Enough with the constant “feasability studies”. We’ve become a consultant’s cash cow around here. Make these groups do the studies at their own costs if it’s to be so valuable to the area. Let’s not be one of the suckers born daily.
Agree! There are not enough of anything here in Palm Coast. It’s a dive. No decent restaurants, no grocery stores other then too many Publix..expensive! This was a temporary move. Cannot wait to move. Nothing going here. Boring!!
Speaking of sounding kinda nuts…
” …The city “suspects there may be a growing need for high quality venues to host regional, state-wide and even national sporting events… ”
Perhaps… in Orlando. But Palm Coast?
” …Alfin described the sports complex as “a catalyst, because it is the first step in the improvement of the unimproved property” west of U.S. 1. …”
Sounds like a “Plan B,” after seeing the flood waters Ian left out that way.
Just my opinion.
Seminole County has a large Baseball Complex. BoombBah. Alot of Resources needed to support this. Good Luck
How many storage facilities will the Complex generate? How many new “Choke and Puke” fast food sites?
Waste of $113K as usual. We have Indian Trails that simply is unused most of the time year long. Use that money for the schools for the over-populational trend towards growth in a recession that is going on right now that is supposed to be over capacity. What happens when the real estate collapse happens & the tax base is less. They’ll be approving raises for themselves & taxes to the rest of us to maintain a delusional field of dreams really.
$113K and counting… and how many more years is there in Alfins term? Funny, I think I recall reading here that he’s not even a citizen of Palm Coast… nice, eh.
But ya know, I received my “sample ballot” the other day… I might be wrong, but I don’t think I noticed any charter revision or pay recall amendments on it.
Looks like the same old same old as far as choices of candidates as well… so much for democracy here.
This place is indeed a joke in my opinion.
Maybe I’ll vote Lowe… perhaps his time has come.
Go west, Go west until we have no more farms, the what are you gunna have on your dinner plates??? Go west Go west, please leave no trees standing. We dont need the trees anyway, what are they good for??? Keep putting concrete, asphalt were we used to have flourishing woods and wetlands and see how high the waters get in palm coast. Florida used to be a beautiful peaceful place until all the yanks and aliens invaded out state. And ya I dont live in Palm Compton, never have never will!!!! Florida raised and 62 years old y’all enjoy till all the beauty is a piece of history which y’all will change anyway.
Maybe it’s time to pay attention to the only Parks and Recreation department that makes money for the city. Yes I am talking about the 52000 rounds of golf played at Palm Harbor Golf Club last year that operates out of a 20 year old temporary modular building that is a money pit. The reason it was temporary was to get the golf course back on solid ground before building a real clubhouse, well guess what that time has come. Take care of today’s citizens.
Those complexes are huge money losers and huge upkeep! Why does this town constantly try to find ways to make it worse!
The associated photo above tells a story doesn’t it? Truly a picture worth at least 113,000 words.
An empty stadium complex (with all the lights on no less).
They should look at the sports complex in Homestead/Florida City as a warning about such boondoggles. I am not one of those “NIMBY/Palm Coast shouldn’t grow!” types. I am glad we are getting a BJ’s wholesale store and would love to see a true open Marina with bar and restaurants somewhere on the ICW in Flagler County. A sports complex is hugely expensive to build and maintain…forever. We can’t afford all the maintenance in Palm Coast now. Anyone who says it will pay for itself is either a lier or delusional. I have seen/lived this before.
Instead of a sports complex it would be wonderful to make this an inclusion park where members of the LGBQ+ community can gather. There could be arts and crafts, dancing, food theme evenings, transgender discovery, and so much more. This inclusion park would be a great way to attract more members of the LGBQ+ to move here and make Palm Coast their home!
Keep Flagler Beautiful says
By making it an “LGBTQ+ inclusion park,” it would automatically make it an exclusion park for everyone else. Did you think about that? It makes no sense to even think about a complex that large and expensive for such a niche purpose. “Transgender discovery?” I don’t think a person needs a park in order to do that.
God, I hope this is a joke.
We don’t want freakshows.
So basically this would only create low-paying jobs in the service industry. Forget bringing in businesses that pay people six figures or more (unless you’re a doctor). What a joke.
“If you build it they will come.”
Perhaps to which I might say, sorta borrowing a line from Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon (sticking with the fantasy movie theme)…
“This is Lowe’s time.”
And not to worry, when Lowe screws up, there will be Danko there to hit him on the head and remind him…
“Don’t focus on the finger, or we will miss out on all that heavenly gravy.”
Just something to think about.
Or perhaps even a better line…
“Don’t focus on the facts or figure$, or we will miss out on all that heavenly gravy.”
What a joke says
This sounds great! Can we make sure this westward expansion has TONS of one lane roads with intersections that back up on the daily .. I love poorly planned traffic patterns – can we prioritize that… oh oh and lots of dollar stores and places to store crap. I mean I need a lot of storage places. Maybe can we get some of those electronic casinos, too? Can the $113,000 please help us achieve that much so needed dream? I also agree residents out there should get free pairs of snake boots, too.
America First 81 says
The Sports Complex will another White Elephant that will WASTE Taxpayer Funds! Please study other cities who have tried Sports Complex as a. New Income/Employment Center and you will realize that Sports Complex Only increases Property Taxes with Negative Income from the Sports Complex! The Study is available and should printed in Flaglerlive.org. Palm Coast needs a Mayor and City Council Members who have COMMON SENSE and understand Economics 101!
FLAGLER LOCAL says
Wasteful and frivolous use of 113K!!! We’re surrounded by beautiful “unimproved lands” that these crazy people want to “improve”. Why don’t we make sound investments & MAINTAIN/improve all that we have already?!?! The roads, parks, schools, public works etc.. They say the land is “empty” when the only emptiness is in their foresight and between their ears!!!
Chris Conklin says
For those involved in travel baseball and other traveling sports it’s not uncommon to have to drive an hour from a hotel to the ballpark to play there’s plenty of hotels and plenty of beds in Palm Coast and St Augustine I think it’s great for the kids and a great facility checked out boombah in Sanford
BoombBah also has a continuous Contract with Perfect Game the largest traveling Youth Baseball League in the Country where the last 3 or so First round MLB Draft picks were developed. The County makes their money mostly from the Complex by Revenues generated by a Hotel Bed Tax. Tourist Development Tax Revenue Municipal Bonds were issued to build it to the tune of 25 Million plus back some 8 years ago.
Another shiny new object so soon after the continuing splash park debacle?
When will Palm Coast government realize that they are predominantly a community of retirees and act accordingly?
This sounds like Palm Coast boondoggle #2.
“Boondoggle #2”? You’re generous, I’ve seen almost a dozen in the past year.
Joseph Barand says
Palm Coast is the “cash cow” for consultants, drop any idea on the councils desk and get $100,000. I would like to know how much money is spent on consulting fees and studies without one shovel of dirt ever being turned. The fools at city hall justify this by saying we’ll get state and federal funding to pay for it. How about addressing real needs like widening and straighten Old Kings between the Parkway and Rt 100. Where is the common sense priority list, doesn’t exist. Instead the fools talk about dredging storm water drainage ditches, salt water canals, that are used by potentially 4,500 residents rather than a road that is used by everyone on a daily basis.
How about a grocery store on the North side of Palm Coast
Here’s the flgov. Toll free whistle blowers hotline.
Feel free to call with information and maybe start the process of electing actual leaders, instead of the grifters that have been allowed to fund their personal lifestyles with development kick backs or worse.
Talk to the residents of Melbourne that live around that stupid waste of land. It’s use is minimal.
I always enjoy driving down Belle Terra, wondering when it’ll be 12 lanes wide.
harry m says
they did a study about 15 years ago for parks in that area and paid a company 100k for the study. palm coast should stop wasting money .on parks give us lights on every street , that why the people hate city hall members they don;t want to give the people what they need LIGHTS, if you give the people what they want then its easy for city hall to build what they want, it works both ways
Lights? There are plenty of lights in that sports complex… sure, not so much on the streets around it. But as someone might point out on the Palm Coast clown council, just move closer to the stadium. ;-)
Jay tomm says
Please no….just no……..
No more useless building. PC doesn’t need to be big.. I don’t get why people in government think it should be? It’s 3 exits on a 9 mile stretch of 95 in between Daytona, & St. Augustine With Orlando an hour or so drive away.
Jane Kranz says
Stop wasting our money!!!
And we want to be another Palm Beach County why???
Note to the City of Palm Coast, if you build, they won’t come. This is not a Kevin Costner movie wherein a Hollywood imagined baseball field out in the corn fields suddenly becomes reality. A catalyst for unimproved property, Mayor Alfin? Take a look at Town Center, today. More likely a wrecking ball to not only animal habitat and environmetally sensitive areas, but to historical sites, dating back to Colonial America, too.
Currently, a subdivision, ironically named Sawmill Preserve, and its developers, more than likely represented by the attorney to the developers, dangerously encroaches on Hewitt’s Sawmill. This “sophisticated water-powered sawmill” predated the American Revolution and remnants of it remain, along with the Kings Highway. To learn more about Hewitt’s Sawmill, click here: https://flaglercountyhistoricalsociety.com/hewitt-sawmill/
Local historians, including Bill Ryan, have written extensively about this area. Portions of the The Kings Road, https://flaglercountyhistoricalsociety.com/colonial-history-of-flagler-county/
along with the Old Brick Road https://flaglercountyhistoricalsociety.com/old-brick-road/
are located in that which has been determined as “fly-over” country and contained within “30,000 acres of empty land”.
Hurricane Ian left an tremendous impact on Hewitt’s Sawmill and portions of The King’s Road. When the land for the Sawmill Preserve was cleared, a small, nearly non-existent buffer was left. This caused the area to be more exposed than it had in the past. While it is reasonable to anticipate some downed trees, i.e. widow makers, the devastation after Ian, in my opinion, is ten fold because of irresponsible development and a lack of enforcement for proper buffers. King’s Road Historic District, along with the Flagler County Historical Society, have not only performed heroes’ work to preserve and present this incredible part of Flagler County’s history, they are continually discovering, inspecting, and drawing attention to a host of historical sites in this county.
Photos of the damage at Hewitt’s Sawmill can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/KingsRoadHistoricDistrict
There is much more to Flagler County than beaches and building hotels and sports complexes to attract those who may or mau not make this their permanent home. I keep coming back to Joni Mithcells’ lyrics, wonderfully performed by Big Yellow Taxi,
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
Oh, bop, bop, bop
Oh, bop, bop, bop
They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them
No, no, no
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone
They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot…
Thomas J O'Grady Jr says
This and tons more houses and redundant shopping centers is what you get when you have Developers running your city government. A constant string of pie in the sky schemes to turn Palm Coast into not Palm Coast. For whom? Developers. We need to elect officials who protect PC from developers, not employ them. Take all those development ideas and devlopers out to the Mondex and see how long it takes the residents there to express their opinion about it. The headline: DEVELOPERS TAKE PLAN TO MONDEX RESIDENTS – NEVER HEARD FROM AGAIN!
I always find there comments ironic – your house and place of employment did not spring forth from the earth, nor was is sanctified since time immemorial- it was brought to you by….developers.
Please please put a running track there since the others are guarded like Fort Knox. We don’t really need the 199th soccer field.
Naw, silly idea. Leave it alone.
Celia Pugliese says
113,000 k more wasted by the Mayor, Council and administrator Meanwhile while they wage their war against the Waste Pro trash collector not accepting their bid for the additional hurricane yard debris collection as was decided be done in house the city is destroying the front yards sod by doing it with backhoes and improper trained employees dragging the yard debris to the payment with the backhoe from inside the front lawns by dragging away also the expensive manicured lawns…was this DeLorenzo’s or Bevan’s idea ?. Now the technician’s been sent to estimate the damage and assess the cost as the homeowners affected should no pay to replace their sod…How smart is that? less expensive that paying Waste Pro $285 an hour to collect the debris with the proper winch equipment and properly trained workers?
Celia: Waste Pro sucks. We’re in the Hammock, where, in our yard, we have somewhere around eight to ten live oaks which tend to turn our long driveway majorly green after each storm. Ian was not, for this area, nearly as destructive as Matthew or Irma, so our debris piles are not nearly as large. Not close. In fact, our current debris is within Waste Pro’s normal standards, and they should just pick it up and shut up. They are holding out for more money, which is nothing more than a rip off, and our piles have turned brown and are still present. Once the debris is finally picked up, there will be a ton of dead leaves for us to rake up, and put in cans, that satisfy WP’s requirements, so we don’t get red tagged. As usual, WP is full of it, but not full of proper work.
What happened to the citizens of Palm Coast voting on environmental preservation as the most important issue? The city planners give zero ***** about that quite obviously.
Jack Howell says
Give me the $113,000.00, and I’ll tell you the feasibility of building a sports complex for Palm Coast. Better yet, I’ll do it for free! There is zero feasibility of making this project self-sustaining. It will become a money pit! But then again, the wisdom or lack thereof in the council will vote approval unless the voters start voting these wasteful spenders out of office. This is just ludicrous. I warned against the splash park, and you saw what happened. Is history going to repeat itself?
Palm coast says
They already built a water park, that lasted 2 weeks. Its gonna be the same with this one. Fix the water park for kids first.