2201 Edison Ave, Fort Myers, FL
One Lee County Commissioner says two Major League baseball teams are interested in training at the Fort Myers’ City of Palms Park, but another Lee County Commissioner disagrees.
Lee County Commissioner John Manning, who made the comments after a “Naples Daily NewsMakers” taping said teams are considering utilizing the former spring training home of the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox are moving across town to JetBlue Park, now under construction off Daniels Parkway in Fort Myers. City of Palms Park has been the Red Sox’s spring training headquarters since 1993.
Manning declined to name the other teams, saying only that one is now based in Florida for spring training. That would mean the other team has spring workouts in Arizona.
Manning called the prospects “a long shot’’ and declined to discuss the matter on camera.
However, Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah said that was not happening.
“I’m not aware of any teams, at this time, that are specifically expressing interest in re-locating to the City of Palms Park,” Judah said.
Daily News staff called eight Major League teams to inquire about an interest in re-locating to the City of Palms Park. Yet no team expressed interest at this time.
“As of right now we’re pretty happy with our spring training complex in Kissimmee,” Steve Grande, Houston Astros spokesman, said in an email. “Any rumors about where we might end up after our contract expires at Kissimmee are just speculation.”
The City of Palms site is also under consideration for conversion into a swimming training complex.
For more than a year, the National Swimming Center Corporation and the county have gone back and forth between proposals that would satisfy the county’s financial situation with the most recent incarnation stating the private company will pay for the entire $18.2 million renovation of the former Red Sox spring training stadium. The company has stated it has $25 million in the bank to begin the first of what would be a three-phase project transforming the ball park’s fields into five pools.
Last week, the county proposed to shutter City of Palms to save $500,000 from the budget.
Connect with Tracy X. Miguel at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tracy_x_miguel/