COLLIER COUNTY — Collier County's Tourist Development Council is looking to create a private-public partnership to help guide efforts to build a spring training stadium for the Cubs in Naples.
On Monday, council members voted 7-1 in favor of setting up a public committee that could be a "sounding board" for the Cubs as they consider a move to Naples from Mesa, Ariz. The council's vice chairman, Murray Hendel, said he would come back at next month's meeting with a slate of 10 to 15 knowledgeable people from the community that would sit on the committee.
The public committee would work closely with the Esmark Inc. and Fifth Avenue Advisors, which have teamed up in an effort to lure the Cubs here for spring training.
Hendel said when he first brought up the idea of bringing the Cubs to Naples back in August, some people thought he was "nuts."
"Back at that time the chances were nil," he said.
But it appears the tables may have turned in favor of Naples.
"We have a wonderful chance to land the Cubs in Naples," Hendel said confidently.
After the owner and the CEO visited Naples earlier this month, they identified a "number of suitable locations," with the help of Esmark Inc., which hopes to build the stadium.