VIERA, Fla., April 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- With the world's largest multisport athletic organization moving its national headquarters to Viera, along Florida's Space Coast, a groundbreaking ceremony is set for April 27 at Space Coast Stadium to begin work on what officials say will be the nation's premier amateur sports complex.
Officials from the United States Specialty Sports Association, which will be based at the sports complex, and Florida's Space Coast are hosting Thursday's groundbreaking activities, which begin at 11 a.m. at the stadium facility, located in Viera at 5800 Stadium Parkway.
Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 4.5 million participants competing in 14 nationally sanctioned sports, including baseball, fastpitch, slow pitch, karate, basketball and soccer. The organization has been headquartered in Kissimmee, Florida.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Don DeDonatis, Chairman of the Board and CEO of USSSA, will outline plans for the use of the 8,000-seat Space Coast Stadium and the adjacent sports facilities – which are being renamed the USSSA Space Coast Stadium & Athletic Complex – and how his organization will contribute extensively to the project. Improvements will include 15 all-turf fields outfitted with the latest in Musco lighting technology, as well as media facilities with broadcasting capabilities.
Renovation of a stand-alone, 18,000-square-foot training facility and batting cages used by the stadium's previous tenant, Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals, is also under way.
Partial funding for the renovation project will come from revenue generated by the Brevard County Tourist Development Tax on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals with support from USSSA to complete the project.
"I could not think of a better use of the tourist tax revenue, since it will boost hotel occupancy significantly, as well as increase overall economic impact in Viera and surrounding counties," said Eric Garvey, Director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism. "USSSA's history of room-night generation in its previous location speaks for itself, and we are excited that the Space Coast will now benefit from this move."
USSSA's guaranteed room nights would generate an estimated $500,000 a year in additional tourist tax revenue for the Space Coast, based on an average room rate of $100 a night, Garvey explained. USSSA will be responsible for operations and routine maintenance of all buildings, fields and facilities at the renovated sports complex.
At Thursday morning's groundbreaking ceremony, the USSSA Florida Pride, a professional women's softball team that includes Viera's own Olympic gold medalist Kelly Kretschman, will be in attendance. In addition, board members from the unique all-access sports park, Space Coast Field of Dreams, will show their support. USSSA donated a digital scoreboard to the nearby West Melbourne sports park, which is designed for special needs athletes.
During the ceremony, young ball players in uniform will be on hand to represent the nation's youth, delivering the message that sports teaches leadership and fellowship and prepares kids not only for the next game, but also for much-broader roles in life. Former major league infielder Jamey Carroll, who played most recently for the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals, will hand off to these young players a symbolic baseball signaling the change from the old to the new and leading off the transformation of the Space Coast into the "youth sports capital of the world."
Florida's Space Coast is a family-friendly destination located 45 minutes east of Orlando. Encompassing Cocoa Beach, Melbourne & the Beaches, Port Canaveral, Titusville, and Palm Bay, it is home to the world's second-busiest cruise port and 72 miles of beaches, the longest stretch in the state, as well as 190,000 acres of wetlands and waterways full of habitat found nowhere else. Plus, Florida's Space Coast is where rockets still soar into orbit from Kennedy Space Center. For more information, contact the Space Coast Office of Tourism at (877) 572-3224 or visit VisitSpaceCoast.com.
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