As the shovels broke ground on an empty plot of land near the Chain O’ Lakes Complex in Winter Haven, the clock started on a project that will cause a seismic shift in the type of events Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing recruits.
“I don’t think people realize how much of a game changer a building like this can be, not just for us here at PCTSM, but for Winter Haven as well,” said Mark Jackson, the director of agency. “Polk County has a deficit of available court time for sports. Nowhere is that more evident than Winter Haven, where residents participate in indoors sports at only 60 percent of the national average.”
This fieldhouse will improve the lives of Winter Haven residents not only personally, but financially as well, thanks to the estimated $22 million annual direct impact the facility will have on the city.
“Right now, we can’t compete with other venues for some indoor sports, for example, volleyball,” said Jackson. “The fieldhouse broadens the scope of the sports we can recruit.”
Additionally, the fieldhouse will allow PCTSM to expand its reach into the meetings and conventions market.
“Winter Haven already has everything the meeting or convention planner looks for,” said Jackson. “Plenty of rooms at every budget, great local restaurants and niche taverns, a variety of activities for attendees and a central location between two major airports. We add to the mix a professional staff who can ensure that their event is a world-class experience. All we needed to add to the mix was a building.”