The baseball complex planned for Wesley Chapel is shown in this image from developer Blue Marble.
St. Petersburg, Florida -- Pasco County wants to fill its new sports complex with a big league baseball team, and they'll make a pitch to become a Spring Training destination Thursday.
Major League Baseball teams from around the country practice and play in Tampa, Clearwater, Sarasota, and other cities on the west and east coast during Spring Training.
Now, Pasco County wants to get in on the action.
Plans for a sports complex in Wesley Chapel have been in the works for years. And Thursday, the complex's developers and county leaders will make their case to Major League Baseball teams.
Thursday night is the annual Governor's Baseball Dinner at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, and Pasco County is invited.
The Trop will be filled with baseball leaders, team owners, and that group of newcomers from Pasco.
The group planning a huge new 19-field baseball complex just northeast of the Shops at Wiregrass will get to talk to big league teams about moving their Spring Training to Wesley Chapel.
The Blue Jays and Astros are both looking at new training homes, and other clubs may be interested, too.
College and youth tournaments in baseball and softball will be the main customers for the complex when it opens in 2016. Spring Training would be an extra boost.
Last month, Pasco County agreed to spend $11 million on roads and infrastructure.
The complex's developer now has five months to come up the $23 million it will take to build the rest -- fields, dormitories, a parking garage, and more.
"When Major League teams put Spring Training teams in counties and cities, the whole idea is to bring tourism to that area which increases economic impact. So, obviously that would assist us," developer James Talton said.
"We believe that we have a really good profit model the way that we have it, so we are already a... sports tourism destination."
The folks behind the complex say the youth tournaments will create $78 million in economic impact each year.
Talton says the complex will be one of the best spots like it in America and the only one open year-round.
And he says his group plans to build the complex whether or not they manage to land a Spring Training team.
Grayson Kamm, 10 News