NAVARRE BEACH — Navarre Beach Sports & Recreation will be expanding its volleyball complex with an additional 10 to 15 courts.
At the Santa Rosa County Commissioner meeting Monday morning, the board voiced approval to provide $15,000 for the expansion at its new location behind the SpringHill Suites hotel on Navarre Beach. The Tourist Development Board of Directors recommended approval last week.
For the last four years, the Navarre Beach Sports & Recreation organization, otherwise known as Bulldog Beach, has hosted volleyball tournaments and clinics which have gained attention locally, regionally and even from other states. The organization currently has seven courts.
According to the marketing application, the organization's owner, Kim Larson, said she wants to grow the sport of volleyball in Navarre and intends to bring in professional volleyball players and reach out to collegiate teams.
District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson said he "enthusiastically" supports the expansion and noted that four young women have received volleyball scholarships as a result of the program.
The expansion is also a good way to grow tourism. According to a recent tourism economic impact study conducted by the HAAS Center for Business Research and Economic Development of West Florida, volleyball was listed in the top four of reasons for overnight stays in Navarre.
"In the next 18 months, we can have professional volleyball teams playing," Williamson said. "I think we should look out for growth opportunities and reserve open space for additional expansion. This will put a lot of heads in beds."