The Winter Park (Fl.) City Commission voted to move forward with a ballpark-feasibility plan over the next 45 days, as city staff will research potential funding plans, locations and more.
The Brevard County Manatees (High Class A; Florida State League) have explored a move to the Orlando suburb for several years now, with the several false starts associated with a partnership with Rollins College on off-campus facilities. Rollins College officials have decided not to move baseball from Alfond Stadium at Harper-Shepherd Field or seek an expansion of the facility, leaving the Manatees to initiate their own search in conjunction with city staff and advisory boards. No spring training is in the mix: the plan is strictly for a Class A ballpark.
The Orlando market is considered the largest in the United States to be without professional baseball, at least by some measures (Daytona Beach, home of the FSL’s Cubs, is part of the same MSA).
Excitement was contagious among City Commissioners at the thought of a minor league baseball team in the city.
“This is a generational opportunity for our community,” Mayor Ken Bradley said. “To discuss it is thrilling.”
“I think we’re the envy of many communities to even be having the opportunity to discuss something.”
The city is working under the assumption that a 3,000-seat, $15-22 million ballpark is in the offing.
RELATED STORIES: New Manatees ballpark pitched for Winter Park — again; New Winter Park ballpark plan scrapped — for now; Developer pitches new Winter Park ballpark; Brevard County Manatees, Rollins College discussing new ballpark; Pro baseball an endangered species in Viera; Nats go public with desire for new spring-training facility
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