Alachua County Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously for county workers to start negotiating with Celebration Pointe to construct a sports activities occasions heart.

The concept for this location — first floated a little bit over a 12 months in the past — has seen its share of controversy in reaching this point, however on Tuesday, the commissioners had been all in.

“I do know the neighborhood has been searching for one thing like this for a very long time,” Commissioner Ken Cornell mentioned.

The push for such a venue began throughout the previous 5 years, mentioned Deputy County Supervisor James Harriott. It emerged at a time when the College of Florida’s O’Connell Heart was below renovation, at which level Harriott mentioned folks across the neighborhood realized there was no different indoor sports activities venue in Gainesville.

This prompted county commissioners to begin looking for places to place a sports activities venue. Locations just like the Waldo Street hall and Residents Area, the Cabot-Koppers Superfund website, and even downtown Gainesville emerged as recommendations.

“I do know that the neighborhood has requested quite a lot of questions on downtown and finding a sports activities venue downtown,” Harriott mentioned, nodding to the needs of individuals like Gainesville Metropolis Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos. “And it’s not that it’s a nasty concept, however there’s not a parcel massive sufficient to position such a facility.”

The most recent study from a county-hired consultant requested questions concerning the venue location that may be key to its success:

  1. High quality: Is it interesting?
  2. Entry: Is it straightforward to get to?
  3. Lodging: Are there motels and eating places close by?
  4. Model: Are folks linked to this space indirectly?

Out of the examine got here the thought of a venue at Celebration Pointe, after which the event district’s board of supervisors responded by submitting an unsolicited proposal to the commission. The fee evaluated and adjusted the proposal, after which permitted to maneuver ahead with the subsequent steps.

These steps can be to debate with Celebration Pointe how the operations work, land rights, parking, funds, dangers and extra. The power can be county-owned, Harriott mentioned. There can be vital neighborhood and monetary advantages by way of the tourism hole the venue would fill, he mentioned.

The commissioners agreed to enter the time period sheet, however no set budgets have but been negotiated. That comes subsequent, mentioned County Fee Chairman Robert Hutchinson.

“This isn’t committing something,” he mentioned. “It’s saying, ‘Convey again a deal,’ so we will all have a look at it.”

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