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Old     (jaybee)      Join Date: Aug 2007       12-02-2011, 11:12 AM Reply

NEW PORT RICHEY County commissioners embraced plans Wednesday for a wakeboard park at the old SunWest mine site in Aripeka and a multifield youth sports complex in the middle Wesley Chapel's Wiregrass development.

Now it's time to work out the details.

Both parks would be privately operated, with a mix of private and public funding to build the facilities. Among the considerations are the legal restrictions of using $11.6 million in hotel tax money set aside for creating tourist destinations.

"It's not a slam dunk yet," said Commissioner Ann Hildebrand. "There's still a lot of stuff to work out, and that's stuff with a capital 'S.'"

Commissioners balked at using tourist money for the $1.5 million wakeboard park, largely because roughly three-quarters of the visitors would be day-trippers from Pasco or Hernando County.

Plans call for two cable courses to pull up to 10 wakeboarders at a time through a series of jumps and rails. Other activities include beach volleyball, disc golf, a rope climbing course, an inflatable water playground and ziplines.

"We understand that a lot of people are not wanting to wake-board or water-ski or knee-board," said Patrick Panakos, president of the Wake Park Project, which would build and operate the park. "That's why we're trying to provide all these amenities."

A one-hour wakeboarding pass would cost $23, or riders could buy a daylong pass for $38. Full-year passes would run $600.

The inflatable playground would cost $10 and the climbing course would cost between $12 and $20 for an hourlong ticket. The other activities would be free.

Commissioner Jack Mariano, a major supporter of the plans, noted that most other parks only have one cable system, not two. And none are located right on the Gulf of Mexico like SunWest.

"It's going to create excitement because we're going to have the best park in the world," he said.

Panakos said he would pay for most of the infrastructure for a total cost of $1.1 million. The county owns the land and the lake. He also asked the county to pay $385,000 for the second wakeboard cable system.

After the meeting, Panakos said he would work with county officials on a bid that allows him to lease the land for at least 15 years. He praised the site as "gorgeous" and a "no-brainer" for the project, which he said could be built within nine months to two years once commissioners approve a contract.

Besides impact fees, the county also has $2.5 million from a settlement agreement that can be used to construct man-made beaches on the lake.

Commissioners also warmed to the $25 million Fields at Wiregrass, which would include 12 multi-purpose fields for soccer, lacrosse or field hockey. It would also have three full-sized baseball fields, three little league fields and three "swing" fields with portable fences for either adult baseball or little league.

One third of the 120-acre project would be owned by the county, and the rest of the land would be retained by the Porter family. Plans for the park also include trails, a public kayak launch and a fishing area. It would sit within walking distance to the Shops at Wiregrass, the planned Raymond James satellite campus and the new Florida Hospital.

The project's main goal is to draw 20 major youth sports tournaments in the first year with a model similar to Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. Spectators would be charged a $4 entry fee and likely couldn't bring food into the facility.

Commissioners tentatively committed $6 million in tourism taxes and $2.5 million in sales tax revenue toward the project.

"This is something that the County Commission believes in, and now we've got to work through the details," said J.D. Porter, whose family owns the development.

There are several key details. One is whether to allow the Porter family to eliminate a separate 80-acre district park from its development in exchange for including the same amount of privately owned land in the sports complex. It's also unclear whether the county can spend tourism money to build facilities on land that it doesn't own.

Commissioner Ted Schrader, who came up with the initial offer of tax money, said he felt "that was enough to get us an entry ticket into opening some meaningful discussions with the Porters."

Future talks could include the Porters donating more land to the county, the county including more tax dollars or splitting the project into phases.
Old     (TheHebrewHammer)      Join Date: Jun 2011       12-02-2011, 5:51 PM Reply   
yes please
Old     (jaybee)      Join Date: Aug 2007       12-05-2011, 8:39 AM Reply   
Oops. Meat for the title to say "possibly" building a cable park in Pasco.
Old     (Cisco)      Join Date: Apr 2010       12-05-2011, 9:09 AM Reply   
It's confirmed now...
Old     (jaybee)      Join Date: Aug 2007       12-05-2011, 12:13 PM Reply   
I am very very curious to see where the McCormicks normals go when this park is open. Is there really anything better than a Pat Panakos park?
Old    LR3w8kbrdr            12-05-2011, 12:37 PM Reply   
It will be 68 miles away and will be a large open body of water without an island in the middle. Its my understanding this has been in the works for awhile. Big things will be taking place at mcCormicks in the future as well...just sayin

Dont get me wrong panakos parks are pretty sweet.
Old     (Robby_Jacques)      Join Date: Feb 2011       12-05-2011, 1:37 PM Reply   
You just can't compete with the drive, passion, and creativity of Pat Panakos. Just like Orlando locals drive all the way to McCormick's right now, they will make the commute over to Pat's park. I am very excited about this, and I know that I will be more than willing to drive 2-3 hours to spend the weekend there.
Old     (Cisco)      Join Date: Apr 2010       12-05-2011, 1:37 PM Reply   
No island in the middle?!?! WTF

Sounds like an amateur production
Old    LR3w8kbrdr            12-05-2011, 2:38 PM Reply   
It will def be supported by those who are outside the county. These locals around here who dont wakeboard are going ape**** about it. Theyre saying $600 for an annual pass is too rich for their blood. It will be cool tht it would be a full family adventure/outing for a day or two with everything they offer.
Old     (jaybee)      Join Date: Aug 2007       12-06-2011, 6:21 AM Reply   
I would think the only people who buy annual passes are hardcore riders and I think (not sure) $600/yr is pretty on par with the surrounding parks no? I also think the fact that it will be so much more than just a wakepark is what will take people away from the other parks.

LOL at the standard Cisco wind up post!
Old     (TheHebrewHammer)      Join Date: Jun 2011       12-06-2011, 6:39 AM Reply   
Originally Posted by jaybee View Post
I would think the only people who buy annual passes are hardcore riders and I think (not sure) $600/yr is pretty on par with the surrounding parks no?
Yes, hardcore riders only in general, and $600/yr is far cheaper than McCormick's or O-Dub's season pass options.
Old     (wakerpunk)      Join Date: Jan 2006       12-06-2011, 7:59 AM Reply   
Does this have any effect on the projects? I would sure hate to see that place fully shut down... SAVE THE PROJECTS!!!
Old     (tampawake)      Join Date: Mar 2008       12-06-2011, 9:37 AM Reply   
No island to me is dumb but will have to see how it is built.
Old     (Cisco)      Join Date: Apr 2010       12-06-2011, 8:23 PM Reply   
Here is the latest news from Pasco and a picture that shows why there are no islands:
Old     (stuey)      Join Date: Dec 2004       12-07-2011, 4:46 PM Reply   
No island isn't a huge deal. There's more than one way to reduce wash in a cable lake. From the looks of the park plans it will have docks all around to help eliminate the wash

Sure, if you are building a lake from scratch you are going to design an island, but there are many all over the world on existing bodies of water that do not have islands.

I thought one of the cables in FL already runs without an island?
Old     (Cisco)      Join Date: Apr 2010       12-07-2011, 5:08 PM Reply   
OWC has a island of tires (or something) that works pretty well. I heard a rumor that it's full of snakes.
Old     (snoopy1173)      Join Date: May 2010       12-08-2011, 11:22 AM Reply   
Revolution cable park in ft. myers does not have an island but even when the park is packed, the chop isnt anything bad....owc in my opinion is pretty rough when its packed to make riding annoying and sometimes dangerous (like ollieing onto rails and what not)
Old     (Tommy)      Join Date: Aug 2010       12-08-2011, 3:35 PM Reply   
Pat is a classy guy! Good luck and God speed brother!
Tommy Phillips


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