Brandon Mayor Butch Lee says much of the land along Boyce Thompson Drive, which backs up to the county-operated equine center on Marquette Road, can't be sold for development. It's in a flood plain, and there's limestone in the soil. His idea is to use the area for baseball and soccer tournaments, and use Shiloh Park for tournaments for softball and other sports.
Mayor Lee says no one realizes the big revenue tournaments can pull in for a city.
"Our goal is to develop it for a baseball park, for running, bicycling trails, to open up some of this property in Brandon so people can enjoy it. Rankin Trails Park is what we'd like to call it," he tells us.
He has until September 30 to ink the $1.1 million land purchase. Meanwhile, wetlands studies are being done, and the County is deciding where they want to move the equine center so horse lovers won't lose their venue. It will be moved instead.
"We were approached by the County to figure out a way, if we could work this, to make use of that facility. So the first thing that comes to mind is, the citizens of Brandon have told us that, we don't have horses, we can't do horses. So the question before us is, what can be done?" Mayor Lee says.
He wants to make turn the equine structure into an indoor sports venue. But he won't do it until the County makes a decision.
Meanwhile, the land purchase will be funded through the 2 percent food and beverage tax which citizens voted for last year. Once a master plan is approved, the City plans to bond against the dedicated revenue stream and build using approximately $8-10 million.
"That is the direction the community voted in a city-wide referendum to go," Mayor Lee says.
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