Chain O' Lakes Complex proposal (map)

This preliminary map shows where the new and refurbished playing fields will be located at the Chain O' Lakes Complex in Winter Haven.

Polk County commissioners last week okayed paying part of the cost of the engineering to determine where the City of Winter Haven can locate ball fields at its Chain O' Lakes Complex.

The $200,000 will come from tourist development taxes and pay for a portion of Phase 2 of the city's redevelopment plan for the park, located adjacent to U.S. Highway 17 and south of Cypress Gardens Blvd.

Assistant City Manager T. Michael Stavres told commissioners at the county board's Jan. 5 session that the proposed Phase 2 would move the four baseball fields slightly from their present location. It would also add three multi-purpose playing fields to the existing complex.

The new fields would be located just south of the AdventHealth Field House, with the baseball diamonds only slightly shifted from their existing sites. Stavres also said the existing stadium, concession stand and outbuildings would be razed when this phase is implemented.

The engineering study, officials explained, is to determine exactly where muck deposits are located on the city land, which will also determine exactly where the fields can be built, as well as access roads leading from U.S. Highway 17 into the complex.

A total cost of the construction of the fields was not given at the Jan. 5 session, nor a timetable for the construction, but Stavres did say that — once completed — the complex is expected to dump some $30 million annually into the area's economy.