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Council member wants to save City of Palms Park from demolition

Councilman Fred Burson of Ward 5 in Fort Myers led the discussion about saving the City of Palms Park from demolition at the Fort Myers Council meeting Mmeeting.

Council voted in September to regain possession of the park but only if Lee County paid to tear it down. The park once hosted the Boston Red Sox but has not hosted a major league team in nearly a decade.

The City of Fort Myers transferred ownership of the park in 2003 to Lee County to offset maintenance costs, while city taxpayers continued to pay off the bond on the facility. After the Red Sox moved to JetBlue Park, it was used for amateur tournaments and hosted FSW’s baseball and softball teams.

City council voted to demolish the park with the intention of using that land as part of its Midtown Redevelopment Plan. But Burson feels it should be utilized to host attract amateur sports because sports tourism brings in a significant amount of hotel revenue.

The City invested millions in the Luminary Hotel project, and Burson said there needs to be a draw to bring guests to that property.

Burson will also discuss the idea of saving the park at the Tiger Bay Club meeting Wednesday.

Burson motioned to have bids put out for planners to look at, including an amateur sports facility as part of the Midtown Redevelopment Plan, and it was approved by the council, so the city manager will work on gathering bids from planners in the next month.

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
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