Fort Myers’ City of Palms Park, the former Boston Red Sox spring-training home and current home of the Florida SouthWestern State College baseball team, is set to be demolished in the second half of 2021 under a plan prepped by Lee County.
Lee County has struggled to find a use for the 1992 ballpark built for Red Sox spring training since the team moved to JetBlue Park in 2o12, first pitching the Washington Nationals on a move (which died when the county could not fund requested improvements) and then entering into a lease with Florida SouthWestern State College. (Those were the saner of the proposals; one had the ballpark converted to a natatorium.) But that lease can be broken with enough notice, and county officials are preparing a contract for the ballpark’s demolition by August, giving the college enough time to make future plans. Yearly upkeep on the ballpark costs $500,000 annually; annual revenues are only $15,000.
Under a plan considered by Fort Myers city council members, the ballpark site would house a mixed-use town center development that would include 600,000 square feet of office and commercial use and 4,000 residential units. The Fort Myers Midtown area, with City of Palms Park as a prime component, comprises some 240 acres south of the downtown area.
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