COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 20, 2014) – The Florida Region of USA Volleyball will partner with Lake County, Fla., and jointly build Hickory Point Beach, a 20-court, sand volleyball complex located on Lake Harris at the Hickory Point Recreational Complex in Tavares, Fla.
The Lake County Board of County Commissioners approved the $398,000 plan with a 5-0 vote and praised the project as a win/win for all parties involved. Commissioner Welton Cadwell led the charge on behalf of the Lake County Commission and was lauded for his efforts to create consensus between Florida Region, Lake County Water Authority, and the Lake County Education Foundation to make the project possible.
The Hickory Point Beach sand volleyball complex will reside at the 68-acre Hickory Point Recreational Complex that currently has five soccer fields operated by Lake County Soccer. The sand volleyball complex will have professional level net systems, lights, permanent restrooms, an intercom system, web cams and twenty-four inches of top-grade sand. In addition to the two sports, the complex also has a children’s play area, boat docks, a two-story pavilion, a nature walk, free parking and a beautiful view of Lake Harris.
“We are excited to announce this news,” said Steve Bishop, executive director for the Florida Region of USAV. “The sport of beach (sand) volleyball is growing at a very rapid pace and we expect a peak in 2016 as the NCAA hosts its first collegiate sand national championships and Rio de Janeiro hosts the 2016 Olympics, where beach volleyball is extremely popular. A public/private partnership with Lake County is pioneering in the sport of volleyball and will create a model for other municipalities to follow across the US. We applaud the leadership of Lake County for sharing our vision and we look forward to working closely with them to make Lake County the Home of Beach Volleyball in Florida!”
Lake County Economic Development and Tourism Director Robert Chandler, believes that this will be a game changer for sports tourism in Lake County.
“We could not be more excited about this partnership with USA Volleyball and the opportunity to work with Steve Bishop and the rest of the Florida Region of USA Volleyball team,” Chandler said. “The Hickory Point Sand Volleyball Complex is precisely the type of venue needed to improve Lake County’s sports infrastructure and will have a significant positive impact on the Lake County economy.”
Events at Hickory Point Beach will include tournaments, leagues, camps and clinics. Organizations that could benefit from a sand volleyball complex of this magnitude are USA Volleyball’s beach high performance program, NCAA Sand Volleyball, American Volleyball Coaches Association, Florida High School Athletic Association, the National Volleyball League, National Collegiate Sand Volleyball Association, Lake- Sumter State College, local high schools and charities.
Additionally, Lake County Soccer will be able to enhance its programming by adding sand soccer competitions. Future plans include opening a beach volleyball academy with an educational component similar to the Club Med Academies program in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Organizations supporting the project are: USA Volleyball (Colorado Springs, Colo.), American Volleyball Coaches Association (Lexington, Ky.), Florida Sports Foundation (Tallahassee, Fla.), Central Florida Sports Commission (Orlando, Fla.), Mt. Dora Community Trust (Mt. Dora, Fla.) and Mission Inn Resort (Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.).
Additionally, many members of the Florida Region and many residents of Lake County wrote letters of support for the project. Notable supporters at Tuesday’s public meeting were Brent Nelson (Sr. Vice President of the Central Florida Sports Commission), Jim Hoffman (Palmora Park resident and former Head Volleyball Coach at Lake-Sumter State College) and Mary Andrew (Commissioner/Board Chair of the Florida Region).
The project will begin immediately as constructions plans get finalized between Florida Region, Lake County, Lake County Water Authority and local general contractor, Butch Hendrick. Hickory Point Beach is scheduled to host its grand opening event during the July 4th weekend for adults and juniors. A local beach volleyball league will be scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday nights beginning in July. Additional information will be available on the Florida Region website in the coming weeks.
About Florida Region of USA Volleyball:
The Florida Region of USA Volleyball is a 501c3 non-profit that began operations in the 1960’s and was officially incorporated in 1982 to promote the sport of volleyball and to create competitive playing opportunities for volleyball enthusiasts of all ages throughout the State of Florida. The Florida Region is one of the 40 regional volleyball associations under the umbrella of USA Volleyball and currently serves over 12,500 members. Indoor and outdoor programming is available for adults, juniors, coaches and officials. The Florida Region of USA Volleyball headquarters is located in Eustis, Fla. Additional information on the Florida Region can be found at: FloridaVolleyball.org.