A discussion during a recent meeting showed that there are mixed opinions on a proposed ballpark in Titusville for a High-A Florida State League squad.
During a meeting of the North Brevard Economic Development Zone board, two officials weighed in with criticisms of the ballpark proposal, which calls for a 3,500-4,000 seat ballpark to be built at Sand Point Park. Titusville city council member Martha Long said that she will not support the construction of the facility on park land, while development zone board member Paula Cardwell expressed skepticism of its outlined economic impact.
With the proposal in the very early stages, it is not a surprise to see some division among local officials. The idea of using park land for ballparks has been a divisive issue in other markets, and the funding model is in its preliminary stages. Currently the ballpark would be paid for with $10 million from the development zone board–using tax revenue on new commercial development in the area–while an additional $10 million would come from the county’s hotel tax, and the team would kick in $5 million.
Some officials offered a more tempered response. More from Florida Today:
North Brevard Economic Development Zone board member Stan Retz said it is premature to come out against the proposal before more information is available.
“For anybody to say ‘I’m all for it’ or ‘all against it’ without looking at all the facts is pure ignorance,” said Retz, a certified public accountant. “To me, it’s just crazy.”
Long said she has “absolutely no opinion about the stadium” itself. She just doesn’t want it in Sand Point Park.
Board Secretary Robert Jordan, a candidate for Titusville mayor, said the city must pursue things like the baseball stadium to help improve the downtown area.
“Our children are leaving this town because they say there is nothing to do,” said Jordan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Titusville-based Genesis VII Inc., a procurement and logistics company. “We can keep the charm, but we also can increase the quality of life. I have never believed that we, as a people, can turn something down.”
The ballpark, first proposed by Brevard county commissioner Robert Fisher, would host a High-A team, United States Specialty Sports Association (USSA) softball tournaments, and additional community and private events.
If it ultimately goes through, it would mark the return of professional baseball to Brevard County, as the Brevard County Manatees are set to leave Viera’s Space Coast Stadium after this season and move to Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee. However, the Osceola County Stadium lease is only for three seasons (with additional options), which opens the door to a possible return of the Manatees to a new ballpark down the road. USSA is slated to move into Space Coast Stadium.