Braves win inaugural game at CoolToday Park in North Port

The newest spring training facility in Southwest Florida is open for business. Thousands of fans attended to see ball players take the field inside the newly built $125 million park.

The Atlanta Braves defeated the Tamp Bay Rays 4-2 in its first game inside CoolToday Park in North Port Monday.

“I was 100-percent excited,” said Laila Purvis, who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Before entering the park, there were plenty of attractions, including Clydesdale horses, dancers, and bands.

“We live in Port Charlotte and been here 17 years, and, just, we’re so excited,” Ken Barrios said. “It’s gonna change the area.”

Some people hope the fans who attended the game Monday will take a closer look at the area.

“My wife’s a realtor and hopefully she can sell a bunch of houses in the area,” said Vic Skidmore from Venice Beach.

“The resale of homes has been amazing,” Tanya Skidmore said. “So it’s been a big benefit to have.”

CoolToday Park was funded in part by public and private money. It is the Braves’ third training site since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966.

Fans said they’re seeing familiar faces. Fans from other spring training facilities continue to add to the Southwest Florida baseball bustle.

“When people come to go to spring training, they want to go to different stadiums and visit different things,” Braves fan Tom Williamson said.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
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