Nothing was finalized, but Lee County officials say they’re pleased after meeting with the Washington Nationals about playing in a revamped City of Palms Park as early as 2015.
Lee County has been working with a developer, Rockford Construction, about a redevelopment of the City of Palms Park area that would include some $40-$50 million in spring-complex upgrades. Lee County doesn’t have the money for the City of Palms Park upgrades requested by the Nats earlier this year and is looking to the private sector — as well as the Nats, we are told — to fund everything. Whether or not this will be enough to tempt the Nats remains to be seen; a proposed new complex in Kissimmee was turned down by Osceola County officials, and while Brevard County will reportedly make an attempt to keep the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium, there are reportedly a few other communities looking at funding a new or expanded complex.
It’s unclear how the meeting went; no one is talking on the record, and it’s been described more as a fact-finding mission than a sales pitch. The Lee County delegation declined to meet with reporters after the meeting, and Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais issued the following terse statement:
“The meeting with Rockford Development and the Nationals was productive for Lee County and the City of Fort Myers. We were able to continue discussions about the potential structure of a public-private partnership that would make improvements to the City of Palms and have the Nationals here for Spring Training in 2015.”
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