The chances of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals landing a new spring-training site in Palm Beach County increased last week when the Florida Legislature passed a new funding bill for pro sports facilities.
HB 7095, which passed both the House and the Senate and is likely to be signed by Gov. Rick Scott, would expand the state’s funding of sports facilities via sales-tax rebates, but it also overhauls how this funding is awarded. Last year saw the expansion of spring-training facilities, but many third-party observers opined that it would not be enough to close a spring-training deal for the Nats and the Astros in Palm Beach County. The Astros want to see a plan for a new facility in place by the end of the year.
The bill would accelerate sales-tax payments from the state and implement a cost-benefit analysis for any projects. Existing MLS stadium projects in Orlando and Miami, as well as the Daytona International Speedway, would receive accelerated payments. From CBS Miami:
More broadly, the bill allows projects that cost more than $200 million to apply for up to $3 million a year in funding for 30 years. Projects worth between $100 million and $200 million could apply for up to $2 million a year, and those between $30 million and $100 million would be eligible for up to $1 million a year.
Money for the stadium projects would come from an annual pool of $13 million, with $6 million set aside for the Legislative Budget Commission to potentially allocate later this year. That commission is made up by House and Senate members.
It won’t be hard to see any Palm Beach County two-team complex cost $100 million.
By the way, it appears that John Prince Park is back in the running for hosting a two-team complex in Palm Beach County.
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