PANAMA CITY BEACH — Local and visiting athletes soon could be using a new training facility at a popular park on the Beach. 

The City Council on Thursday approved entering into an exclusive negotiating agreement with RHR Ventures for the development of an 8-acre parcel of land at Frank Brown Park. 

The group has proposed building a 22,000-square-foot D-BAT Sports indoor facility on about 4 acres of the parcel, which currently is a dirt parking lot. 

‘Win-win’:PCB considers adding indoor baseball, softball training facility at Frank Brown Park

PCB:Council to consider deal for 22,000-square-foot D-BAT facility at Frank Brown Park

Focused on youth training, D-BAT is known for its indoor batting cages, sporting goods shops and bringing professional athletes to its facilities. It also offers professional training.

“Youth sports is one of the most important things that we have in our society, and this is a great amenity to (complement that) at Frank Brown Park,” Mayor Mark Sheldon said. “There’s thousands of kids who come to Frank Brown Park every year through baseball and softball, so we want to make sure we’re adding an amenity (that will benefit) something that’s already there.”

Mary Coburn, the lone council member who voted against the negotiating agreement, said she likes the idea of adding a D-BAT facility to the community, but does not believe it is best suited for Frank Brown Park. 

“I do not feel that this meets the needs of our residents,” Coburn said. “This is the people’s land, and we should not be using it for commercial use.”