Big plans for Tampa sports complex, but there’s a catch - FOX 13 News

Big plans for Tampa sports complex, but there’s a catch

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The plan to build a large youth sports complex in Tampa may be falling to the wayside. 

The founder of the Tampa Bay Storm, Bob Gries, and other investors want to build a $20 million youth sports facility west of the Veterans near Tampa International Airport.  But we have some information that could force investors to look elsewhere.

It may be one of the hottest pieces of property in the Bay area – about 15 acres west of the Veterans.

Several investors want to buy it and build a $20 million youth sports complex.

"We want to do something that will be a signature facility for the Tampa Bay area because there's a desperate need for facilities," said Gries in a December interview.

The Orlando Sports Center is one of the South's largest hubs for indoor tournaments. Tampa investors envision a building that may be twice as big.

But it doesn't look as if that sports complex will go at the proposed site.  Several years ago, the airport designated it a scenic preserve.

"It's in a noise sensitive zone," said Janet Zink of Tampa International Airport. "If you look at the map, there is a runway that's not too far from here. This is a noise sensitive area, which means that in general we prefer not to develop on noise sensitive areas."

The land is used as a noise buffer for neighbors nearby.  We're learning an independent consultant will recommend airport board members not sell it and keep it a scenic preserve. 

"It was purchased a long time ago in the late 60's to specifically prevent development," Zink said.

A public meeting on the proposed site is scheduled for Wednesday at TIA.

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