A county committee examining improvements to the 10th Street recreational complex in Port St. Joe will meet 9 a.m. ET Wednesday in the Emergency Operations Center.
The meeting is the first since an April joint county-city workshop concerning the ball park after adjacent residents protested the scope of proposed changes and impacts to their neighborhood and property.
At that time, county officials sketched out a general budget, somewhere north of $800,000, and largely left the footprint of improvements to the city.
However, since April the city has made little progress, with the latest version of a conceptual plan criticized by many of the same residents living adjacent to the complex.
For them, the fundamental issue is the viability, and livability, of constructing what they see as a sports complex in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
Field of Dreams Ave. opposite the Gulf/Franklin campus is the ideal location for a sports complex.
Expanding the boundaries and mission of the 10th Street Park will bring impacts ranging from loss of trees along the Port City Trail to increased flooding and safety with the higher traffic.
On the other hand, while until last week largely silent, there are also those connected to youth sports in the community who note the 10th Street ball parks have been used for decades and are already bursting.
The latest version of the conceptual plan increases the number of fields by just one, they noted, along with pickle ball courts, and that expansion is badly needed.
Port St. Joe commissioners have worked through several versions of a conceptual plan since the joint workshop with the county; the first was seen as improvement to critics, the second rebuked for being a return to the original plan.
City commissioners, weighing citizens concerns, also have the additional complication of putting together a plan which will meet requirements of spending tourist bed tax dollars on the park.
Currently, the entire budget is based on bed tax funding from a fifth penny implemented by the county nearly three years ago.
An increase in those elements between the fifth and sixth versions, protested by critics, was based on impact from county officials and the need for additional elements, said Commissioner Rex Buzzett.
The latest version of the conceptual plan, the sixth attempt, was tabled last week by city commissioners who were seeing it for the first time.
That also complicated the debate for residents adjacent to the park who believe they have been left out of the discussion from the outset.
In tabling consideration of the latest plan, city commissioners expressed the belief they had time based on the lack of activity by the county committee since April.
The notice of the committee’s meeting was posted Monday.
The proposed renovation of the 10th Street complex, approved by the Board of County Commissioners last summer, has lost traction since the first conceptual plan was released to the public early this year.
The conceptual plan, seen by the committee as a starting point for crafting a master plan and budget for the project, detailed the proposed elements for the renovated complex.
Since April Buzzett, the city’s representative on the county park committee, at least until the approaching end of his term, has urged unity by city commissioners in determining the path forward.