Funding for a Tradition Field renovation depends on a $20 million state grant, according to St. Lucie County officials.
The spring training home of the New York Mets and regular season home of the St. Lucie Mets (High A; Florida State League) is slated for a major overhaul. If the plan moves forward as hoped, work would begin at the conclusion of the upcoming spring training season, and would be stretched out over multiple phases.
Once the project is completed, Tradition Field would be equipped with a 360-degree concourse, renovated clubhouses, and improvements to amenities such as the box office and team store. The adjacent complex would also be renovated, with changes on tap for areas such as the clubhouses and batting cages.
While St. Lucie County has already approved borrowing $60 million for the project, it is still seeking $20 million in state funds through a grant. The program allows Florida communities to obtain funding for spring training facilities–a maximum of $20 million if the project benefits one team–that is paid in annual installments.
County administrator Howard Tipton is hopeful that the grant request will be accepted, but is still emphasizing the importance of that piece of the funding. More from TCPalm:
If the county receives the $20 million state grant, construction would start after this spring training and last for two years. Work would be scheduled around both spring training and the minor league St. Lucie Mets’ schedule to avoid interrupting or relocating games, Tipton said.
The county’s current contract with the Mets, which was signed in 2011, runs through 2023.
If the state rejects the county’s request or awards a smaller amount, the stadium work cannot be done, Tipton said.
“If the state gives us less than the $20 million, we would have to put the project on hold and go back to the drawing board,” Tipton said.
A similar grant is being sought in Sarasota County, where officials are negotiating with the Atlanta Braves on a new spring training complex.
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