PANAMA CITY BEACH — Construction of a new indoor sports training facility could be around the corner for the Beach.
In a City Council meeting on Thursday, local officials are slated to consider a negotiation agreement for the development of a D-BAT Sports facility on about 4 acres of an 8-acre parcel of available land at Frank Brown Park. The parcel currently is a dirt parking lot.
PCB leaders in January issued a request for proposals to develop the city-owned property, which is located within the park’s footprint along Panama City Beach Parkway (Back Beach Road). Dubbed the better fit for area, D-BAT was one of two companies that applied. The other, L&D LLC, proposed a large golf attraction.
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“It is the desire of the city that the proposed development complement the activities and facilities located at Frank Brown Park Sports Complex and Pier Park, in addition to functioning as a destination, enhancing and improving existing … assets and providing revenue to support the operation of Frank Brown Park,” the original request for proposal reads.
Focused on youth training, D-BAT is known for its indoor batting cages, sporting good shops and bringing professional athletes to its facilities. It also offers professional training.
The City Council set its sights on D-BAT during an April meeting.
Site plans include batting lanes, pro shop and parent lounge
According to its website, there are about 145 D-BAT facilities across the U.S. That number is expected to grow to 150 by year’s end. D-BAT is an acronym for Developing Beliefs, Attitudes and Traditions.
If the project is approved, Panama City Beach would not sell the property to D-BAT, but rather enter into a long-term lease for the site.
Site plans listed in the agenda show the facility would cover about 22,000 square feet. It would include a pro shop, parent lounge and conference room, along with more than a dozen batting lanes and separate pitching lanes. Batting lanes would feature pitching machines able to throw a variety of pitches at different speeds.
“D-BAT is player and parent friendly where moms and dads can teach and/or practice with their child in a safe and comfortable atmosphere,” the company’s proposal reads. “A D-BAT baseball and softball academy franchise would be the perfect compliment to (Frank Brown Park that) would enhance other (local) facilities as well.”