Although the move is controversial, a Tampa company is expected to take on the planned artificial turf expansion project at Wesley Chapel District Park that is expected to cost just under $1.9 million.
If accepted by the Pasco County Commission, Mainstay Construction Services will build two artificial turf fields in Wesley Chapel, each spanning 81,000 square feet, and also will construct additional parking areas. The commission was expected to make a final decision at its Feb. 25 meeting, after The Laker/Lutz News went to press.
The artificial fields are intended to help bring some additional tourism dollars to the county by making the Wesley Chapel fields more attractive to regional or even national tournaments, Ed Caum, who works in the county’s office of tourist development, told commissioners last October.
“I cannot market grass fields,” he said at the time. “We have had field problems out there before for overuse.”
Some people who have used Wesley Chapel District Park, located just off Boyette Road, have complained about overcrowding and the need to build more fields. Some have even started traveling farther away to play soccer and other sports in places such as Zephyrhills.
Commissioner Jack Mariano highlighted those problems in October, suggesting the county look to serve local demands first before seeking to attract teams from elsewhere.
“They would rather have five grass fields than two artificial fields,” Mariano said at the time.
When the project was first put to bid last year, only one company — QGS Development Inc., of Lithia — responded, and they priced it $500,000 over budget. County Administrator Michele Baker, however, felt the request the county sent out was too broad, and that re-bidding it would get them closer to their budget.
Six companies responded this time, with QGS staying close to its original $2.2 million bid, higher than everyone else. The lowest bid actually came from JCT Development of Dunedin. However, the company was disqualified after failing to submit necessary final paperwork on bonding.
None of the bids came from Pasco County companies. Bids also came in from companies based in St. Petersburg, Atlantic Beach and St. Augustine.
Work could begin as early as late spring.
Published Feb. 26, 2014.
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