Lee county may send out another round of requests for proposals on what to do with City of Palms Park, the former spring training home of the Boston Red Sox. Commissioners talked over the park for more than 1 and a half hours Monday afternoon. One wants to keep talking about a swim center.
"I want to be able to tell the staff to sit down one more time with the National Swim Center people and try to work it out, if it can be," said Commsr. Ray Judah. The group from Texas has proposed a swim center at the park, but some county officials believe the group wants Lee to pay at least 50-million dollars to convert from baseball to aquatics.
"That's totally out of the question. We do not have bonding capacity for 50-million, or even 10," said Commsr. Tammy Hall. "I think the talks with the swim center people are over, done."
However, commissioners agreed to hold a formal vote, up or down, on some kind of a swim center proposal, at some point in time. If the vote is no, the county probably will put out requests to developers to send in ideas for the park. However, the requests would make it clear, the developer would pay to convert t he park to another use. The county has no money to put into a deal, according to the discussion on Monday.
In the meantime, amateur baseball events will take place at the stadium in Ft. Myers.
Discussion revealed that the county has talked with Washinton, Milwaukee and Toronto about having their major league baseball spring training at the park. However, talks have not progressed and any hopes for a new, major league tenant, could be years off.