The City of Port St. Joe will be hosting a community-wide workshop for a proposed new sports and recreation facility that would be built on a designated lot off of Highway 98, near Gulf Coast State College.
The workshop will be held Thursday, June 2 at 5 p.m. EDT in the Centennial Building.
The city is hoping for the community’s feedback on the project before next steps are taken. Public comment will be encouraged.
In April, Port St. Joe city commissioners voted to set aside $1 million federal Covid-19 recovery dollars for the project. They asked the County to make the same financial contribution, citing the number of out-of-city children who would utilize the new complex.
But during their May 24 meeting, the county commissioners declined to earmark the funds, citing their views that it would not cover enough of the construction costs and that they would look for grant funding sources instead.
“I think we need to do a joint application with the city to try to get some funding,” said Chairman of the Board Sandy Quinn. “Even if we did come up with a million, I don’t think $2 million is going to build the Field of Dreams.”
Quinn recommended that the county and city apply together for Triumph grant funding at a larger sum and that the city and county meet at a later date to go over their ideas, rather than on June 2, with which the other county commissioners agreed.
The sports facility project, dubbed the Field of Dreams project, originated in 2009, when the city, determining that they were outgrowing their existing baseball and softball fields, drafted plans for a sprawling recreational facility. They planned to build the facility with assistance from the county and the Tourism Development Council.
The project got as far as getting the land set aside. But, ultimately, the parties were unable to work together to secure enough funding to make it happen.
Discussions surrounding the Field of Dreams resurfaced in February, after Tim and Stephanie Peterson brought concerns about lacking sports and recreation facilities to the county commissioners at their Feb. 15 meeting. Since, several city commissioners have declared the complex one of their top priorities.
“My priority, and I hope the other commissioners’ priority, is to focus on making our community better for our community and not always focusing on what we can do for just tourism,” said Scott Hoffman after his reelection was announced at the April 5 city meeting.