City of Palms Park may be torn down, becomes open public space
The City of Palms Park is a landmark to some in Fort Myers, but it could come down within the year to make way for the midtown redevelopment plan.
The city’s vision is to turn the former spring training home for the Boston Red Sox into an open public space.
“I just don’t think they’ve been able to attract another ball team there,” said Michael Brandt, a Fort Myers resident. “The idea of having some open space in an area that’s getting decreased open space is good.”
Since the Red Sox left for Jet Blue Park in 2012, the City of Palms Park has not brought in the same revenue. It earns only 1 percent of expenses in 2015.
The park is primarily used by Florida SouthWestern State College for games and practices, which brings in $30,000 of the $32,000 yearly revenue.
But it costs $500,000 to keep this place running and the city is still paying off the stadium for $1.2 million a year. Those payments will continue going out for the upcoming three years, even if it is demolished.
Former Naples City Manager Bob Lee said cities have a lot to consider when making a decision like this.
“Most parks and rec type activities don’t make money,” said Lee, who now is an assistant professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. “It’s just a matter of is it providing the services that they want to provide in the long term?”