By LOIS KINDLE
Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation’s Waterset Sports Complex is almost complete, and there’s understandably lots of buzz in the area among athletes and sports enthusiasts.
Featuring four multipurpose, synthetic turf athletic fields for football, flag football, soccer, mini-soccer and lacrosse, it’ll offer youth and adult sports teams throughout the county expanded opportunities to rent a field for practice, league and tournament play. Open play dates will also be available at no cost through a check-in process at the on-site office.
“It will be one of the largest contiguous fields in the entire nation,” said recreation program specialist Rodney Jones, of Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation. “And it’s completely new in Florida.
“We’ve already had people inquiring about league play,” he said. “To ensure the most fair and effective use of our resources, we’re building a scoring matrix to make decisions when multiple teams want to use the same field at the same time.”
The $11-million initial phase of this Hillsborough County Park includes the synthetic turf fields with LED lighting; a building with two offices, spaces for coaches meetings and referee gatherings, concession area and restrooms; a playground, several pavilions and parking for more than 500 vehicles. It covers about half of the site’s 85 acres.
Portable bleacher seating will be available, as well as additional seating near the concession area, Jones said.
Groundbreaking for Phase 1 took place in late March 2022 and construction has taken a little more than a year. While there are plans for the second phase of the project to include fields for baseball and/or softball, there is currently no start date or available funding.
The Waterset Sports Complex will help address the county’s booming growth and supplement all of the existing Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation facilities, conservation parks and nature preserves in the southern part of Hillsborough County.
While the complex is a great addition for South Shore area residents, its central and easily accessible location makes it ideal for use by teams in the entire region. It was made possible through a collaborative effort between Hillsborough County, the public and Newland, Waterset’s private developer.
If everything goes as planned, the Waterset Sports Complex will open within the Waterset community in mid-April at 6110 Waterset Blvd., Apollo Beach.
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