Ground breaks on $27 million sports complex in Sanford

Former MLB player David Eckstein touts new facility

SANFORD, Fla. – A brand new sporting attraction is coming to Seminole County.

The complex will be built on 100 acres of what used to be a citrus grove in Sanford. The land doesn't look like much now, but construction officially started on the $27 million project Tuesday following a groundbreaking ceremony.  

"What we're building today is not only a place where young men will be able to come and young women will be able to come to fulfill their dream on the athletic field, this is where you actually build leadership," said David Eckstein, a retired MLB player.

Eckstein, a two-time World Series Champion, served as the ceremony's keynote speaker. Eckstein grew up in Sanford and spoke about the quality and impact the 15 new baseball and softball fields will have.

"We estimate that almost 63,000 athletes and spectators will frequent the facility in the first year of operation. 27,000 of those are expected to be out of town visitors, expected to create an economic impact of over $10 million dollars," said Brenda Carey, chairwoman of the Seminole County Commission.

The multimillion dollar project is being paid for through a 5 percent hotel tax that visitors pay when they stay overnight in a hotel in Seminole County.

"While residents aren't footing the bill for the project, they will reap the benefits of having this state of the art sports facility available for our community," said Carey.

In addition to the 15 fields, the complex will include playgrounds, three indoor concession buildings that will also have restrooms and charging stations for electronics, plus walking paths and community event space.

The Seminole County Sports Complex is expected to be completed in spring 2016.