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Fort Myers mayor: We have little chance of landing Nats

Washington NationalsWith a proposed redevelopment of the City of Palms Park area almost dead, Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson says there is little chance a $36.6 million renovation plan will succeed, giving the city no shot to land the Washington Nationals for spring training.

We have more of the details at our sister site, Spring Training Online, but the basic outline is simple: development partner Rockford Development (in conjunction with a local partner, Paul Roberts) crunched the numbers and not only walked away from putting private funding into a development plan, but turned things around and asked for assistance from Fort Myers and/or Lee County. Now, for these two government entities, the whole point of bringing in a private developer was to attract private funding for a makeover of the ballpark and the surrounding area with retail and restaurants.

And with no improvements to the ballpark and the area, there’s little chance of attracting the Washington Nationals, who have made no secret about a desire to leave Space Coast Stadium and Brevard County for a more central location. Though Fort Myers is in the southern part of the Gulf Coast, it is central when it comes to spring training, with the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays training in the greater Fort Myers/Port Charlotte area. Given that the Nats were pursuing a new Kissimmee spring complex while Fort Myers was working on this renovation plan, we get the sense the Nats weren’t too eager — or maybe too realistic — to see a City of Palms Park renovation plan succeed.

RELATED STORIES: Brevard County: We’ll make another run at keeping Nats; Lee County to pitch Nat again on City of Palms Park; Osceola County rejects new Washington Nationals spring-training complex; Osceola County delays vote on new Nats spring facility; Tourism Board approves new Nats spring-training facility; New spring complex pitched for Osceola County; Nats petition to end Viera spring lease; Osceola County solicits bids for new spring complex; End of the line for Space Coast Stadium?; Nats, Osceola County talking new spring-training facility; Nationals in talks for new spring-training site; will leave Viera; Early setback in attempt to keep Nationals in Brevard County; 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 training; Lee 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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