New York Mets coming to Fort Myers City of Palms Park for fall league

The New York Mets’ fall instructional league will practice in Fort Myers City of Palms Park in September and October.

The Boston Red Sox, who continue to train at the park while its new sports complex is being built, agreed to the arrangement.

Commissioner Ray Judah said the partnership will be an investment in the community bringing more people to eat in restaurants and spend time and money in Lee County.

“It just bodes well for the community,” Judah said, congratulating the staff on securing the deal.

When asked if this could lead to a longer-term relationship given the park’s uncertain future, Judah said the possibility existed.

“It certainly could lead to future contractual commitments if the Mets find this desirable,” Judah said.

The Sterling Mets will train in Fort Myers from Sept. 16 through Oct. 20 and pay about $12,000 in rent.

The team typically plays in its newly renovated park in Port St. Lucie where it can compete against the nearby Marlins and Cardinals.

But a Mets official said those teams weren’t expected to be on the east coast this season leaving them with no one to play.

“It’s the instructional league and it’s all about playing as many games as you can,” the official said.

In Fort Myers, the team can play the Red Sox and Twins as well have shorter commutes to teams in Sarasota and Bradenton.

The Mets official said this arrangement is temporary with no plans at this time to secure a permanent league in Fort Myers.

The Red Sox will move to a new stadium on Daniels Parkway in the 2012 spring training season. The only organization to express interest in the property was the National Swimming Center Corp. out of Texas who had said they wanted to develop an Olympic training center.

But a Sept. 15 memo from County Manager Karen Hawes indicated the company had not provided adequate financial information and the proposal would leave the county at too great a risk.

Connect with Tara E. McLaughlin at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tara-mclaughlin/

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