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Hillsborough County delays vote on Bass Pro Shop

12:44 AM, Dec 6, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Hillsborough County Commissioners on Wednesday delayed voting on spending up to $8.25 million to help lure Pro Bass Shops to the area. 

The outdoor retailer wants to build a 150,000-square-foot store off I-75 in Brandon and the money would be spent to make road improvements around the proposed site.

Commissioners agreed to take up the issue again at a meeting in February.

Before deciding to delay the vote, Bass officials told commissioners the store and other attractions that would eventually be build on the site, including a hotel, would employ more than 1,500 people with an annual payroll of $36 million. They also said the store's development would lead to an annual economic development of $113 million.

But several local business owners voiced their opposition to the plan, telling commissioners they didn't like the idea of their tax dollars being used to help bring a competitor to town.

"They're giving my money to a competitor and trying to put me out of business and my employees. It's just not fair, it's not right," said Andy White, the general manager at Brandon Crossroads Bowl.

Bass says their new store would have up to 10 bowling lanes.

"This was a Boater's World 15 years ago and four years ago we went out of business and when we re-opened we got no help. And I thought it was unfair for the county to open up the coffers to entice them to come when we tried to do it four years ago and had to do it by ourselves," added Charlie Wynperle, the general manager at Boater's Choice.

Bass says it would like to open its new store in the spring of 2014.

Billed as a destination store for outdoor enthusiasts, Bass says many of their customers come from more than 50 miles away.

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