Community raises questions about proposed sports complex

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 04:11 PM.

"Whoa, yet another land mine proposal," said Rosemary Beach's Claire Bannerman. "So many questions — what kind of parking? Landscaping? Will they do the clear cut thing again like Walmart, with all the cars parked right off the highway? Perhaps they can cleverly introduce a parking field behind the complex so we don't have yet another eyesore along the scenic highway, keeping our distinct and unusual beach charm and protecting the unique natural beauty of Highway 98. We need to have clarification on the environmental who said the 'land is good to go' and name names and tell us findings. We need park and playing fields for our basic community needs, a pool and tennis court for the public would be just downright awesome and fair. We need to better manage what we already have, maintain, preserve, protect and enhance for residents and the visiting public."

"Developed properly and marketed properly it could be a winner," said former TDC director Malcolm Patterson. But he offers a word of caution. "This business is not high-dollar business. I wonder if Walton has the number of mid- to- low-end properties to support this type of market. Bay County has the perfect fit and has done well, however, Walton is no Bay County ! Without the travel sports business the complex could be a serious financial drain on the county and I am sure everyone will look to TDC monies to make it happen. Lots of serious unanswered questions."

Former sports broadcaster Dennis Dumler added, "I have always felt that a ball field should be built on any vacant piece of land ... but in reality this sounds like a great idea and one that could be of use for a lot of people in and around the South Walton area. The key thing is that it is run correctly and reflects the high caliber of life that we want to project to our visitors."

The sports complex's proponent, land-owner M.C. Davis, presented his proposal to the Walton County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday. Special Project Coordinator Larry Jones was tasked with forming a fact-finding group to investigate, take a look at the property and its feasibility for the proposed use and return to the commissioners with their findings.

County Commissioner Cindy Meadows said she expects commissioners will hear Jones's findings in the next 30 to 45 days.



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