LEE COUNTY, Fla.-- Boston Red Sox executives and Lee County leaders teamed up Friday to dedicate the new Red Sox Spring Training facility.
The construction site off Daniels Parkway east of I-75 in Lee County is scheduled to be ready in 2012.
The Red Sox have called Lee County their Spring Training home since 1993, when the team was lured away from Winter Haven for the chance to play at the then-brand new, City of Palms Park in Fort Myers.
The new facility on Daniels Parkway will house the ballpark as well as the team's player development center. Currently, the Red Sox use two different facilities to meet those needs.
The ballpark will also host amateur sporting events and concerts. There will be six soccer fields on site as well.
Team ownership and county commissioners were on hand for a dedication ceremony Friday, where Commissioner Frank Mann thanked visitors to the area.
Mann says without their tourism tax dollars, the new ballpark would not have been possible.
The new lease ensures the team will remain in Lee County for the next 30 years with no opt-out clause. There's a possible 20-year extension when the latest deal expires.
Construction on the ballpark is said to have created nearly 1,000 jobs. 65% of those were hired from among the local workforce.
Commissioner Tammy Hall says the team's economic impact in the county is $24 million each year.