Thornton said he plans to deliver a report to the County Commission on April 7, which will include details of his meeting with the Brandon Sports and Aquatics Center board and the owners of the land near the Crosstown.
The upside to the land on U.S. 301 is that it is flat and has good road access. The downside could be the cost. Thornton declined to reveal the asking price until he completes his report but did say the land's cost could be a deal breaker. The latest consensus among members of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission is the need for all-purpose fields that could be used for football, lacrosse, rugby and soccer, Thornton said.
Pools are expensive to operate, Thornton said. But, if the county can build a multi-purpose facility that could raise revenue and Brandon Sports and Aquatics could run it and organize moneymaking events, the match could work, he said. "Nothing is off the table at this point," he said. Ron Pierce, chairman of the board, said the not-for-profit aquatics center is most definitely interested in a partnership with the county. "Our challenge is that we don't have the revenue to build and the county doesn't have the people to operate a new complex." Therein lies the partnership, Pierce said. "Our program would transfer over to the new site, as long as it's east of I-75," Pierce said, noting that on a daily basis, including the after-school program, some 800 people come through the sports center. That includes swimming, tennis, martial arts and gymnastics. "We can bring the national meets here," Pierce said. "We've had more medals come out of here than some small countries have produced."