PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A plan set into motion in 2008 is coming to fruition just in time for a major softball tournament.
The Panama City Beach Sports Complex is still being worked on but will host a tournament Monday. (WJHG/WECP)
After more than ten years in the making, the Panama City Beach Sports Complex will host the United States Fastpitch Association Tournament next week as part of its soft opening, despite not being complete.
"Now, next week we're not going to be completely done, I mean there's a lot of work still to be done, a lot of landscaping work that'll be done as we get through the summer, but with Hurricane Michael it kind of slowed everything down, but next week we'll really be able to use five of the fields," said Executive Director of the Bay County Tourist Development Council Dan Rowe.
Part of the reason the tournament will be held at the complex although it's not finished is that the fields in Panama City were damaged by Hurricane Michael.
The finished sports park will feature all types of sports from baseball to lacrosse.
"Ultimately, we'll have 13 fields at the sports park, nine of them will have artificial turf and four of them will be natural grass fields," said Rowe.
Having new sports tournaments available will boost our tourism.
"As we get into the fall, the winter, and the spring, there's always more room on the beach for more visitors to come and having this sports park on the east end of the beach will help spread people out along the length of the beach," said Rowe.
It will also create more job opportunities for people in the community.
"We have a handful of full-time employees on our management team and we have 20 part-time people, but one of the most important aspects about the sports park is it will also create jobs across all of our economy because, for every 91 new visitors that come to Panama City Beach, a full-time job is created," said Rowe.
City officials say the complex is a home run for our area.
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