FORT MYERS, Fla.- The swim center saga at City of Palms Park comes to an end. County commissioners decided to take the deal to convert the ball park in to an aquatic center off the table.
It's back to the drawing board to determine what will become of the former spring training home of the Boston Red Sox.
After two years of talks to turn this in to a swim center, commissioners said enough is enough.
"After watching the county management dance and dance and dance, I'm not interested in dancing any longer," said Lee County Commissioner Brian Bigelow.
And so ends the tango between Lee County and the National Swim Center Corporation. After 20 months of negotiations plagued with financial doubts and questions over what the aquatic center would look like, commissioners decide to heed the advice of a county staff review and end talks with the N.S.C.C.
"This has been a frustrating walk down the path for me. I'm not going to support continuing this process," said Lee County Commission Chairman John Manning.
The county paid a sports consulting firm to examine the swim corporation's plan. Isaac Sports Group's report estimated yearly revenues would be much lower than what N.S.C.C. was forecasting. Commissioner Frank Mann says he has no desire to see the park sit empty. So he's ready to entertain new ideas.
"I want to open that window much broader than it was opened origianlly and see what is out there. We don't think anyone in the baseball industry is interested," Mann said. "Let's open the window wide. We're dangling quite a thing out there. We're giving you a $30 million facility. Show us how you'll come in and take advantage of it."
The spokesman for the Swim Center Corp., former County Commissioner John Albion, said he was surprised and disappointed, but he didn't dismiss the idea that they may come back with a revised proposal when the county opens up talks for new ideas.