Funding for a proposed Atlanta Braves spring training complex in North Port is closer to completion, as a $20 million state grant has been conditionally approved.
On Thursday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity granted its conditional approval to a $20 million state grant that will be used for the project. This grant was seen was a major piece of the funding for the complex in southern Sarasota County, which is expected to cost between $75 and $80 million, and most of the contributions for the plan have been in place after county, city and developer approvals.
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The approval of the grant means that the project is moving closer to be finalized. The City of North Port, Sarasota County, and the West Villages Improvement District are all set to conduct final reviews on September 12. If it moves forward, the complex is expected to open in 2019, making the spring of 2018 the Braves’ last at Champion Stadium and ESPN Wide World of Sports.
“We are pleased to have the state join the partnership of the city, county, West Villages Improvement District, Mattamy Homes and the Atlanta Braves to make this a reality,” said West Villages Improvement District Chairman Martin Black, AICP, ICMA-CM.
“We are excited to be building a state-of-the-art spring training facility in this beautiful community,” said John Schuerholz, Atlanta Braves Vice Chairman. “We have truly found some incredible partners in Sarasota County, West Villages and the City of North Port, and we look forward to training and playing there for many years to come.”
“We are thankful for the state’s positive response to the Braves spring training project and its benefits to our region,” said Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer. “This is an important milestone that will allow the construction to move forward with the support of the elective bodies. We will continue to work with the team, West Villages, the City of North Port, state officials and the rest of the community as we prepare the necessary agreements to bring the Braves to Sarasota County.”
As noted, the complex would be located on the southern end of Sarasota County. This would place the Braves closer to Port Charlotte and the spring-training home of the Tampa Bay Rays, Charlotte Sports Park, than to the northern Sarasota County spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota
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