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Former all-star Lemon opens sports 'mecca'

Jan. 23, 2013 at 3:03 PM

TAVARES, Fla., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Former MLB all-star Chet Lemon has opened a $6 million sports complex in Central Florida that he says he hopes will be a "mecca" for athletes from every sport.

Although much of the 163,000-squre-foot facility in Tavares won't be done until later this year, a volleyball tournament this month drew 5,000 people and 60 teams, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Wednesday.

"We want to be a sports mecca," said Lemon. "We want people to be able to come here and play all these sports and have everything here."

Lemon -- a three-time all-star who played on the 1984 World Series champion Detroit Tigers -- said he and his wife, Gigi, began planning what they call "The Big House" 15 years ago.

At completion, it will have a major-league sized baseball outfield with extra batting cages and pitching mounds, a world-class fitness center, a running track and outdoor beach volleyball and soccer fields.

It also has a hair and nail salon, a car-detail shop, a smoothie bar and a food court.

Also in the works are a day-care center, classrooms, a 100-seat theater, a VIP lounges for visiting scouts and university recruiters, and an in-house webcasting center.

The Lemons' complex joins other large sports venues already in the Orlando area, including the Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

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