In May, the plan for Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium renovations was presented to the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council. As part of the proposal, the two clubs were calling for new, expanded clubhouses for both MLB and MiLB operations. The renovation would lead to the demolition of existing clubhouse structures beyond the outfield wall, clearing the way for a new 360-degree concourse and outfield seating. New clubhouses would have been built built beyond the concourse. Also proposed: a new scoreboard to replace the old one that would be dismantled to make way for the new outfield concourse, along with an expanded merchandise store as well as some other minor ballpark upgrades. The cost of the project: $100 million, which would be partly funded by the county’s tourism (hotel/motel) tax.
Funding from the state, in the form of up to $50 million to be paid out over 25 years, was expected along with contributions from both teams. In addition, the Cardinals and Marlins would have extended their leases from 2027 to 2047. However, the exact contribution from the county remains unknown, and the teams found that the proposal left key areas such as parking unaddressed. Officials from both clubs, including Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III, stressed that they are happy in Jupiter but that more time is needed to refine the renovation, thus the decision to halt the proposal for now. More from The Palm Beach Post:
“Both teams like where we are. The county and the state and the town all like us and want us to stay. There’s no reason to panic on this issue for people that love coming to the Jupiter area for spring training,” Bill DeWitt III, president of the Cardinals, told The Palm Beach Post on Thursday….
DeWitt estimated it could be a year before the plans get back on track. He said there is no immediate pressure to meet a deadline because the lease doesn’t expire for nine years.
The stadium renovation plan the teams presented in May to the county’s Tourist Development Council included an overhaul of the clubhouses, offices, training areas and public spaces. It also sought to expand the team store; add more batting tunnels, agility fields and Wi-Fi for fans; and provide a new scoreboard and more shaded seating areas.
The missing element, DeWitt said, was additional parking. He said that’s an issue in an area that is constantly growing and will have to be addressed.
Renovations to the ballpark have been discussed as a way to keep Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium more competitive with other spring-training facilities in Florida. Palm Beach County opened FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches as spring home of the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros in 2017, and several clubs are currently in discussions with officials in their spring training locales about upgrades to their facilities.
Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium first opened in 1998. It is a notably busy ballpark, hosting spring training for both the Cardinals and Marlins along with regular season games for two High-A Florida State League teams–the Palm Beach Cardinals and Jupiter Hammerheads.
Image courtesy Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Under the proposed renovations, the clubhouse in the background of this photo would have been torn down, with new clubhouses moved farther away from the ballpark bowl.