LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County is asking the Washington Nationals baseball team to trim down its wish list to improve City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers. The team is considering a move to Lee County for spring training and player development.
"I feel good that the team really is excited to be here. But I don't have a magic bullet to take care of the funding. The money side is the big problem," said Doug Meurer, assistant county manager in Lee. "We asked them to trim down their list, and we will then get the list and put a cost to it, and talk with commissioners."
Meurer met with Nats owner Ted Lerner and other top executives in Washington last Friday.
"It was a good, productive meeting. They really want to be here. I just don't know how to work the funding with very limited tourist tax dollars. We also will consider some kind of baseball-related funding. But I don't know what that will be, and I cannot telll you the rough parameters of how much money we are talking about. That is covered by a confidentiality agreement," Meurer told WINK.
Tuesday evening, the Nationals' senior media relations person sent an e-mail statement to WINK News, saying: “Beyond the playing field and our current status within the pennant race, the Washington Nationals primary pursuit remains finding the best long term options for a Spring Training and player development facility.”
Lee County is committing tens of millions of dollars to pay off Jet Blue Stadium for the Boston Red Sox, and improve Hammond Stadium for the Minnesota Twins.