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North Port Officials Request Study on Braves Complex

New Braves Training Camp

Seeking more information on a proposed Atlanta Braves spring training complexNorth Port commissioners have request an internal fiscal analysis of the plan. 

Under the terms of the proposal, the Braves spring training complex would occupy about 70 acres of land in the West Villages development. The City of North Port could contribute $9 million over 30 years to the $75 to $80 million complex, potentially joining the Braves, Sarasota County, the West Villages developer, and a highly sought-after $20 million state grant as partners in the funding model.

North Port discussed its role in the project on Thursday, and commissioners opted to look into the project more. The commission voted to conduct an internal fiscal analysis of the proposal, with one of the specific areas of focus being the impact of removing most of the complex’s 70 acres from the tax rolls. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:

[Commissioner Debbie] McDowell wanted to know the opportunity cost of having the bulk of the 70-acre spring training campus taken off of the tax rolls, in terms of lost ad valorem taxes, as well as potential impact fees.

“What would the impact be, had it been a commercial building, or a strip mall … or even houses,” she said. “All I can see, at this point, is our tax dollars not being collected on that facility.”

To accomplish the analysis, City Manager Peter Lear said, the staff would modify a tool used to determine the economic impact of business developments, such as the recently approved expansion plans for King Plastics.

While not a perfect use of the tools, “It’s certainly something that we can tweak and make it fit as best as they can.”

The motion approved by commissioners includes a 45-day timeline for completing the analysis. The Braves are seeking to open the new complex in time for spring training of 2019, possibly making spring training of 2018 at their last at their current facility, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee.

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