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.
RELATED STORIES: North Port Officials Request Study on Braves Complex; Planning for Braves Spring Training Complex Continues; Braves Spring Training Agreements Approved; Sarasota County to Weigh in on Braves Spring Training Agreement; Braves Spring Training Spending Approved by Sarasota County; North Port Approves Term Sheet for Braves Complex; Sarasota County Approves Braves Spring Training Term Sheet; Braves Sarasota County Spring Complex Moves Forward; Braves to Negotiate New Sarasota County Spring Complex; Braves Continue Spring Training Ballpark Pursuit; Collier County Rejects Atlanta Braves Spring-Training Pitch; Two Teams Training in Sarasota County? Could Happen; Collier County Back in Play for Braves Spring Training Camp; Braves Spring Training Move Pushed Back to 2019