A renovation of Dunedin Stadium and the Englebert Complex was approved by Pinellas County, as the spring-training and player-development facilities for the Toronto Blue Jays are set to be renovated by 2020.
Pinellas County Commissioners approved spending $41.7 million in bed taxes on the project. The financial framework calls for the Blue Jays to contribute $25 million and the City of Dunedin paying $5.6 million, as well as bonding a grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity that will be paid out $1 million annually over 20 years. The final plan approved by Pinellas County calls for staggered payments, rather than a single upfront payment backed by bonds.
You can view the current plans for the facilities here. The current plan calls for the Blue Jays to play out of both facilities, with the work scheduled to occur outside of spring training. Once the renovations are complete, Dunedin Stadium would be equipped with a 360-degree concourse and 6,500 fixed seats, with standing room, berm, and alternate seating spaces bringing the overall capacity to 8,500. If the project is finalized, the Blue Jays would remain in Dunedin for another 25 years. The Blue Jays have a long tradition in Dunedin, as the team has trained there since its inaugural season in 1977. Dunedin Stadium is also the home of the Dunedin Blue Jays (High A; Florida State League).
This does not represent a finalization of the project, but does represent the end of the funding side. In Dunedin, Blue Jays spring training will continue to take place at Dunedin Stadium and the Englebert Baseball Complex, while adding the 31.1-acre Vanech Recreation Complex (3051 Garrison Road) to the mix. Next up is the awarding of a design-build contract for the project, as interviews with potential candidates have already taken place. The City Commission is expected to approve any contract on May 17, with the design/construction period running between June 1, 2018-May 31, 2020. The goal, according to the RFQ, is to have the Blue Jays playing out of a renovated ballpark by spring training 2020.
Rendering is a conceptual look for Dunedin Stadium prepared by Populous under city contract.
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