PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)- After years of anticipation, the much talked about Panama City Beach sports complex is now open to the public.
The complex hosted a soft opening Monday morning to kick off the annual USFA softball tournament. Just over the bridge, off Chip Seal parkway, is the brand new Panama City Beach sports complex.
On Monday, July 8th, shortly after 9 a.m., the first pitch of the USFA softball tournament marked the moment the park opened for business. However, baseball and softball won’t be the only tournaments offered at the complex.
“This will open us up into soccer and lacrosse which primarily play in the fall and spring seasons which will allow us to continue to attract tournaments on a year-round basis,” said Bay Co. TDC Exec. Director, Dan Rowe.
Mayor Mike Thomas said making the area a year-round destination for tournaments will contribute to local tourism and bring thousands to the Panama City Beach.
“It brings down an awful lot of people to play and all of those kids when they come down here, bring family grandmas, grandpas, moms, dads… sports is a big deal to Panama City Beach,” said Panama City Beach Mayor, Mike Thomas.
Rowe said visitors won’t be the only ones contributing to our local economy, but the new sports complex is expected to create brand new jobs. “We believe that the sports park when it’s fully up and operational will help generate about 600 new jobs in Panama City Beach,” he said.
Although the park is open for business, landscaping and other final touches still need to be completed before the parks grand opening. “The fields look wonderful but there’s an awful lot of work left to be done out there,” said Thomas.
The park was originally supposed to open in May but was pushed back because of issues following Hurricane Michael. The grand opening date is set for October 5th.