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Early setback in attempt to keep Nationals in Brevard County

Washington NationalsIt appears the attempt to keep the Washington Nationals in Brevard County will be a more difficult chore than some foresaw, as a county tourism committee voters to stop spending hotel-tax revenues on spring training.

Instead, if the committee’s vote is upheld by the full County Commission, $750,000 annually will instead be spent on general Space Coast tourism marketing.

Here’s a summary of what’s going on. (If you want the full story, check out the longer piece on our sister site, Spring Training Online.) The bonds at Space Coast Stadium are slated to be paid off this year. This gives the Washington Nationals to opt out of their lease for Space Coast Stadium in Viera. It’s no secret the Nats braintrust want to see the team move closer to other Grapefruit League teams to cut down on those five-hour bus rides to the Gulf Coast: Kissimmee, St. Lucie and Fort Myers have all been brought up as potential spring homes for the team.

However, some Brevard County officials want to make a play to keep the Nats, even though they’ve not exactly been warmly embraced by the local sports fans. The officials want to look at making changes to Space Coast Stadium and the Barger Complex, perhaps even expanding both to allow another team to train there as well (i.e., the Houston Astros). They’re also looking at some sort of charter air service to allow the Nats to fly to the Gulf Coast for games.

But spending more on spring training may be a difficult sell, as the vote by the Brevard County Tourist Development Council’s Marketing Committee would indicate. And there will be plenty of other heated discussions of spending money on spring training when local schools and governments are facing shortfalls.

RELATED STORIES: Prepping for spring training; Lee County commissioner: Nats unlikely to move to Fort Myers; Kissimmee pitching two-team complex for spring training; Nats, Lee County to keep continue discussions on spring training; Nats: We’re still interested in Fort Myers — if spring complex is upgradedPro baseball an endangered species in Viera?Twins, Lee County negotiating over player dorms, naming rights at spring-training complexTwins sign 30-year spring-training lease extensionLee County: Twins spring-training improvements hinge on state grantTwins present spring-training wish list to Lee County; Lee County to Nats: We really, really love youIf Nats leave Viera, will other teams follow?Lee County commissioner: “50-50” chance Nats will move spring ops to Fort MyersLee County, Nats to meet about spring trainingLee County applying for state ballpark-improvement grantLerner: Fort Myers is tops on our spring-training wish listGammons: Nats present spring-training wish list to Lee CountyIs Nats, Brevard County marriage over?Nats go public with desire for new spring-training facilityNats, Astros eying new Osceola County spring-training complexCould Cards, Marlins leave Treasure Coast?Kasten: Nats definitely looking for new spring home


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