- June 19, 2019
The Dr. Phillips Little League — along with Orange County Parks and Recreation — will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the DPLL future complex at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 26.
“We are very excited,” Dr. Phillips Little League President Nomi Ansari said. “We’ve been working with the county for quite some time on the move — at least for the past five years.”
The new complex will sit on 16.06 acres and will feature four grass fields: one dedicated softball field, two smaller baseball fields — to accommodate games for the 12-and-under division — and one big baseball field to accommodate games for the 13- to 16-year-old division. The complex also will feature a concession stand and restrooms.
One of the biggest improvements the new complex will offer is lighting on all four fields.
“Right now, our softball field doesn’t (have lights),” Ansari said. “So, this will help our softball program to play on-site during evening and night games, which will be very helpful.”
The new complex will be located near the corner of Buenavista Woods Boulevard and Bissell Street.
“The location is in a part of town that has a lot of new development,” Ansari said. “It is walking distance to several restaurants, it’s right next to Lake Buena Vista High School and a new middle school, so the location offers a lot of benefits to those who take part in the little league.”
According to Matt Suedmeyer, Orange County Parks and Recreation Division Manager, the “four acres next to the OCPS property were already designated as a park. The additional acres were acquired through a partnership with OCPS.”
The league is looking forward to the new facility, because it will provide a better experience for its players and their families.
“We absolutely want to maximize this opportunity,” Ansari said. “Our program has seen exponential growth since COVID, so we plan to demonstrate and provide the best Little League program in all of Florida — and bring great quality baseball, softball and T-ball — and make it a place where they community can come and enjoy wonderful games.”
There will be two access points for the complex — one off Buena Vista Woods Boulevard and a second off Bissell Street.
The estimated date for completion is late spring 2023, and the funds for the project came from the Orange County General Fund and the park impact fees.
“Our hope and goal is to host some of those little league tournaments (that are hosted during the summer) there —some of which are district-wide, and sometimes Central Florida-wide,” Ansari said.
LEAVING THE OLD COMPLEX
Despite the excitement behind having a new facility built especially for them, the league has mixed feelings about leaving its old home at 8100 Wallace Road.
“It’s a little sad,” Ansari said. “We’ve been at the current location for almost four decades — since the mid-1980s. But, it’s also exciting because we are moving into a facility that’s brand new.”
The league had been leasing the property from the Dr. Phillips Charities foundation. However, a few years ago, the foundation decided it wanted to repurpose the property. Instead of asking the league to look for another facility, the foundation helped it ease into conversations with Orange County to see if the county could help — and provide the Little League — a new place to play.
“They said they wanted to look into what possibilities the county may have in helping relocate the little league facility and all the league teams together,” former Orange County Commissioner Scott Boyd said. “I knew we had the Dr. Phillips Park but we didn’t have any facilities to accommodate anything like (the complex).”
Initially, the Dr. Phillips Charity had provided a parcel of land resulted on having underlying muck issues that would not allow any structures to be built on it. So, Orange County Commissioner Betsy VanderLey was able to find the current parcel of land where the complex will be built.