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Environmental concerns at play in new Red Sox training site

An influential local conservancy group has weighed in on the best locations for a new Boston spring-training site in Lee County, but the group’s recommendations may be at odds to what the Red Sox prefer.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, a Naples-based advocacy group, has ranked the nine proposed ballpark sites based on their impact to the environment. Their recommendation would eliminate two sites from consideration because of their potential as crucial habitat for the Florida panther.

One of the two sites is the Edison Farms site, the relatively remote location whose owners have offered up free land in exchange for development rights. Some within the Red Sox organization prefer this site because it offers a bucolic location and the potential for associated development.

But the Edison Farms location would require the elimination of wetlands.

Instead, the Conservancy says Lee County should be focusing on locations in existing industrial areas, like Alico Lakeside, east of U.S. 41 and north of Alico Road at the end of Domestic Drive.

We’re guessing that’s not going to fly with the Red Sox: that location is in the midst of an urban industrialized area, and the team says there’s no way they want Red Sox fans to drive through an industrial area to make their way to spring training.

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