It has been no secret that the Braves have been looking to get out of Disney’s Wide World of Sports as their Spring Training home. In addition to aging facilities that are not to the Braves’ tastes, their proximity to other teams’ spring training sites certainly leaves something to be desired as the majority of teams are located significantly further west and south. I can personally attest that the drive to and parking at the backfields at Disney are less than great. Grant McAuley had a great graphic to help illustrate this point that he posted when the Braves move to North Port was in the initial phases.
Early this year, the Braves announced their intentions to try and relocate their Spring Training operations to North Port, FL which puts them both in great proximity to other facilities thereby making Spring Training far less of a grind on the roads of central Florida as well as in new facilities that are more befitting a professional baseball team.
There were still hurdles for the team to overcome, though, as the city of North Port had to give the approval for the team’s plans. While there were understandable concerns surrounding the use of taxpayer dollars for a new stadium project combined with an increase in the expected cost of the new facility (up to $100.56 million from the initial estimates of $75-80 million), the city of North Port gave the official go-ahead today.
O’Brien’s report has tons of specifics as to what will be happening, so definitely give it a read. The gist is that the vote on the final development agreement was quite close (3-2) and that while the cost estimates have gone up, the portion that will be taxpayer funded will be the same as the initial at a little over $40 million divided between city, county, and state funds.
The goal is for the Braves to move to the new site in 2019 once their agreement with Disney for the Wide World of Sports ends. The team hopes to break ground on the new site next month on the multi-sport facility that will also host tournaments and other events in the area.