The Minnesota Twins and Lee County agreed on a 30-year lease extension to keep the team in Fort Myers, but the rest of the agreement — covering improvements and funding — is not yet public.
It’s an unusual situation, to be sure. And there are plenty of contingencies at play, so it’s not nearly important — yet — as it will be down the road.
Here’s what is happening: The Twins and Lee County have an agreement for improvements to Hammond Stadium and the Lee County Sports Complex, largely unchanged since they opened in 1991. To fund these improvements, Lee County is seeking money from a Florida state fund designed to help keep MLB teams training in Florida. The deadline for applying for these fund is July 6, and one big part of the checklist used by state officials is having a new lease from the MLB team in place.
So the Lee County Board of Commissioners and the Twins agreed on a new lease, which will kick in once the complex improvements are made. If no improvements are made, then there’s no lease. And although there’s been some mention of what sorts of things would be included in a new lease — like player dorms and a player-development academy, elevators in the ballpark and more seating — nothing as of yet is public. With the board not scheduled to meet until late July, this lease in limbo will be refined by county staff.
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