FORT MYERS, Fla. - A baseball "Field of Dreams" could become an aquatic center, with competition pools for swimming and diving under a roof. That's one possibility for the future of City of Palms Park, which the Boston Red Sox will abandon for spring training baseball next April.
"This is a real plus for Lee County, a way to teach more people to swim and enjoy the recreation of the water for their entire lives," said Dan Woods, a homeowner and avid swimmer in N. Ft. Myers. "I know there is cost involved, but this is great for all citizens of Lee, and it could bring in revenue."
The National Swim Center Corporation of Austin TX has until early September to submit a formal plan for an aquatic center at palms park. The price tag is estimated at 52-million dollars, at least. Lee would have to kick in several million, and it also would give the rights to the park to the corporation for 99 years. That troubles one commissioner.
"That park is an asset, worth 30-million dollars to the citizens and taxpayers. I don't want to just give it away. That is not right. So they are going to have to show me a very solid proposal, to get my support. I am very skeptical right now," said Commsr. Frank Mann. "Also, this is a bad time to bring this up. We have the recession and lay-offs, and it might not be the right time to talk about spending money on swimming pools."
The Lee Sports Authority says it has not heard much from the swim center corporation this summer. WINK News also left several messages and e-mails with the headquarters in Austin, and did not get a response back.