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Orioles, Sarasota County close to spring-training deal

Some procedural issues between the city of Sarasota and Sarasota County are delaying a deal for the Baltimore Orioles to train at a renovated Ed Smith Stadium as soon as 2010.The Baltimore Orioles and Sarasota County are close to an agreement to bring the team to Ed Smith Stadium for spring training in 2010, but some procedural issues need to be addressed before a $31-million makeover of the ballpark can be launched.

The agreement hinges on the county and city coming to terms on a transfer of the ballpark from the city of Sarasota to Sarasota County. The two sides have come to a basic understanding on the terms, but one issue remains: who would be responsible for any future cleanup of the ballpark. (Ed Smith Stadium sits on a former landfill site, and occasionally reminders of that history will pop up; famously, the lid of a storage drum once appeared in a dugout.) The county wants the city to be on the hook with no supervision of the cleanup; the city wants a say on the extent of any future cleanup. The two sides are expected to come to an agreement perhaps as soon as tomorrow, clearing the way for a transfer.

UPDATE: Sarasota County Supervisors are expected to approve a lease with the Orioles and a transfer of ballpark ownership at a meeting today.

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