NORTH PORT, Fla. -- The Atlanta Braves gave the media a sneak peek of the new spring training facility in North Port. It is in the final phase of construction.
The new facility is generating a lot of growth in this quiet community. North Port city officials estimate the economic impact will be $1.7 billion dollars over the 30-year long lease.
In less than 4 months, fans will be sitting in these seats being unpacked at the Atlanta Braves’ new spring training facility.
The $100 million dollar facility in the West Villages community has the largest scoreboard of any of the Florida spring training stadiums. The playing field is taking shape and they’ll have state of the art equipment in the clubhouse.
“I think it’s so exciting,” Lesly Bowers said. She just became a full-time North Port resident after visiting for four years.
“All I’ve heard that’s negative is there will be more people and more traffic. But all the businesses it will bring, the tourists, economy to the whole area is really exciting," Bowers said.
That construction is sparking new home construction in the area. With just over 1200 permits pulled this past year, the plan is to build 25 to 30 thousand new homes.
Construction for a Publix anchored shopping plaza is in the works on West Villages Parkway the road leading to the stadium. Plus, there are plans for a new town center that is half a million square feet in retail space just this year.
Using a grant, the city hired 19 firefighters for the West Villages area, plus two earlier in the month for a total of 21 new firefighters. Add that to the eight police officers hired this year and six more approved for next year.
North Port is also making road improvements. The city is widening Price Blvd from Sumter to Toledo Blade.
“We’re going way beyond baseball, player rehab, and spring training. This will be a 365 day a year operation,” President and CEO of Braves Development Company, Mike Plant said.
Braves officials say there are 40 non-baseball events planned for the first year.
“100’s of thousands of people coming here on an annual basis, not all for our games but will be filling up hotels using services and restaurants," Plant added.
The Braves won’t estimate how much the economic impact will be the first year, but North Port city officials say it will receive $1.7 billion dollars during the 30-year lease.
The inaugural game will be played March 24 at 4:05 p.m. against the Tampa Bay Rays. It is the last game of the 2019 spring training season and spring training tickets go on sale on January 15.
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