With the installation of AstroTurf now under way on seven battle-weary athletic fields at Viera Regional Park, what’s the bottom line for both residents and the tourism industry along the Space Coast?
How about world-class playing facilities for local kids and other area athletes, with fewer injuries thanks to AstroTurf’s perfectly smooth, very forgiving artificial surface, instead of more wrenched knees, twisted ankles and other mishaps caused by potholed grass fields?
How about fewer (if any) games postponed because of rain-soaked fields, leading to less havoc on everyone’s personal schedules?
How about significant public cost savings because of lower maintenance requirements – and reduced environmental impact – associated with the state-of-the-art synthetic surfaces?
How about new sports tournaments and other events bringing more visitors and tax revenue to Brevard County?
And how about another step forward in the area’s quest to become the new youth sports capital of the nation, if not the world?
Over the next few months, the grass fields at Viera that are heavily used for football, soccer and lacrosse will be replaced with new artificial surfaces from AstroTurf, the renowned maker of synthetic turf systems. All told, nearly 600,000 square feet of this professional-grade stuff will carpet the seven fields.
The improvements will increase the fields’ collective value as an asset to the Brevard County community in more ways than one. First off, due to the new consistency and resilience in field conditions and AstroTurf’s resistance to adverse weather, the competition venues will be more-readily available for year-round use by local residents, especially youths.
At the same time, the first-class fields will provide USSSA (the nonprofit United States Specialty Sports Association) a glistening drawing card for luring teams from other parts of the country to large, newly created tournaments and sports camps at Viera Regional Park.
USSSA, with its new HQ practically around the corner from the county park, already has been instrumental in negotiating favorable pricing for Viera’s AstroTurf and will help maintain the new fields. In exchange, the world’s largest multisport athletic association will receive field-use rights at Viera similar to those provided to the county’s other recreation partners.
The influx of out-of-town players and their families and other supporters that USSSA intends to attract will have only positive effects on the local tourism industry, through additional business done by area hotels, restaurants, retailers, and attractions.
It’s estimated those new USSSA activities will generate as many as 25,000 lodging room nights per year and create an annual economic impact of $17.4 million. Further, they would lead to another $135,000 in Space Coast Tourist Development Tax revenue, another $87,000 in public school infrastructure taxes collected, and another $87,000 in taxes allocated to the Save Our Indian River Lagoon plan. (The local tourism industry supported the creation of the half-cent sales tax to fund the lagoon revitalization effort, and Space Coast tourists currently account for nearly one-third of this tax revenue.)
While the Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department, which manages Viera Regional Park, by itself did not have sufficient funds available to pull off the AstroTurf project, it was determined that revenue from the Tourist Development Tax could be used to cover that cost, as long as the project generates tourism activity. That’s another endorsement for USSSA’s participation, due to its special ability to bring in more tournaments and camps – and visitors with their spending money.
The seven magnificent fields at Viera will be another gem for the Space Coast, serving the recreational needs of local residents while drawing more national attention to the area as a place with just the right attitude and spark. That’s how tourism community development projects are supposed to work.
For more details about the overall AstroTurf construction project at Viera Regional Park, please see the accompanying fact sheet.
Additionally, click here to learn more about the benefits of the new AstroTurf itself.