The lack of a firm financing plan is forcing Rollins College and the Brevard County Manatees (High Class A; Florida State League) to put on hold plans for a new ballpark in the Ravaudage development in Winter Park.
The plan would have seen the Manatees and Rollins College share a new ballpark, with the developer picking up the cost. But with financing not settled, the pair are seeking a new ballpark blueprint.
News that the stadium idea fizzled came on the same day that the Winter Park City Commission unanimously approved the establishment of a community development district for Ravaudage. That quasi-governmental entity will allow developer Dan Bellows to issue tax-free municipal bonds and more quickly develop the project.
“The college is regrouping and assessing its options right now,” Mike Miller, Rollins’ development director, said of the proposed stadium. “Rollins is still committed to partnering with professional baseball to build a new stadium and host a professional team.”
Miller is coordinating efforts for a shared stadium with a group of private investors and said renovating the college’s existing Alfond Stadium remains an option. The investors, he said, felt there were “too many moving parts” with the site to make Ravaudage work.
Renovating Alfond Stadium at Harper-Shepherd Field will be a challenge: the current small ballpark is fairly landlocked, so bringing it up to pro specs and allowing for parking will require additional land.
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