Lee commissioners have voted to go to the bond market to finance the costs of a new spring training complex and stadium for the Boston Red Sox.
"We cannot pass up these low interest rates from the federal government loan program. These rates and this program will not be around forever," said Commisson Chair Tammy Hall.
The county will borrow through two bond programs to finance the roughly 75-million dollars for the new stadium. It will be built on some land off Daniels Pkwy., east of I-75.
However, commissioner Ray Judah voted against the bonding proposal. He noted, it does not set aside money for maintenance of what will be 3 stadiums in 2012. "That's a huge, gaping hole we are going to have to fill. It's going to cost millions of dollars over the years, and we need funds to pay for maintenance, from the beginning," Judah argued.
But the other 3 commissioners approved the financing plan through bonds. They say, Lee can borrow from its reserves in the future to make improvements and maintain the three ballparks.
Construction on the new stadium is supposed to begin early this summer. The team is supposed to start playing in the new place in 2012. That will leave City of Palms Park vacant. Judah says it may cost several million dollars to upgrade that facility, to attract a 3rd team for spring training.