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North Port Commits $4.7M Toward New Atlanta Braves Spring-Training Complex

Atlanta Braves Sarasota County spring complex

The North Port City Commission has committed $4.7 million of sales tax money toward the construction cost of a new Atlanta Braves spring-training complex, one of the last financial pieces for the Sarasota County facility.

The approval came on a 3-2 vote, with some commissioners worry that several details about the complex and associated were not specified. In addition, some commissioners wanted to see the money put toward other community needs, such as a new hospital.

But at the end of the day the payment was supported by the mayor, and a swing vote provided by Commissioner Chris Hanks, who had also expressed doubts about the project. But in the end, he said a yes vote would present a positive image of the city. From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:

“We talk about the negative aspect of everything,” Hanks said, zeroing in how his fellow board members picked at the economic impact of the complex, while discounting positive reports. “We never once mention all the positive scope, all the positive studies.

“We don’t give the exact same credence to those things.”…

In approving the lump sum payment of $4.7 million from sales tax revenue, the board veered from a long anticipated plan to contribute $300,000 a year for the next 30 years — a total of $9 million — to help pay off debt service for bonds that the West Villages Improvement District would sell.

With the approval, there remains only one major piece of the puzzle: a potential $20 million grant from the state, money dedicated toward cities and counties seeking to keep spring training in Florida.

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