Leon County begins renovations at Apalachee Regional Park
March 6, 2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Leon County started making upgrades to Apalachee Regional Park on Friday. As part of a $3 million investment, the county is creating new hiking and biking trails, a permanent finish line, restrooms and a multi-use stage at the park.
County leaders say sports tourism is a major part of what makes Tallahassee a year-round destination.
County commissioners told WCTV the economic impact of the track and field events at Apalachee Regional Park is huge compared to the limited amount of county funds that have been allocated for the space.
"What started out as basically a Boy Scout project essentially, of a couple of grown men whacking a trail through the woods has turned into something where we've been awarded the NCAA Cross Country National Championship this year," Commissioner Bryan Desloge said.
Overall, Tallahassee and Leon County host more than 100 sports-related events each year.
"The amenities that are going in now are just going to bump us up to the next level," Commissioner Kristin Dozier said.
Track and field events alone generate $30 million annually for the county.
"What Augusta national is to golf, this course is to cross country and this community," Kerri Post, the Executive Director of the Leon County Division of Tourism said.
As part of the park renovation, the county is closing the landfill site and creating walking trails and bird-watching sites.
"Staff has really looked carefully at how to plant things in areas where people can't walk, to bring in birds and butterflies," Dozier said.
Apalachee Regional will connect to the larger blueprint project creating boardwalks across Lake Lafayette.
The county says construction will be completed in late 2020. The park will be closed until the upgrades are finished.