“This conservative impact study shows what a dynamic impact the Atlanta Braves Spring Training Complex is going to have on North Port, Sarasota County and the region,” West Villages Improvement District chairman Martin Black said in a statement. “We know this stadium and the excitement of Major League Baseball have more than just an economic impact, it will truly touch this community for two generations or more.”
The $20 million from the state of Florida and $21.3 million from Sarasota County are key parts of the funding plan for the approximately $75 million facility. The rest would come from North Port (approximately $300,000 per year), the West Villages developer and the Braves.
Sarasota County and North Port governments have approved a series of agreements with the Braves, who have a recent history of securing taxpayer dollars for major- and minor-league stadiums. The Sarasota County Commission approved an operating agreement last month, and the North Port City Commission approved a licensing agreement Tuesday. Other agreements remain necessary before the deal is done.
If all stays on track, construction is expected to begin this fall, with completion scheduled for January 2019.
The Braves have held spring training at Disney’s Wide World of Sports near Orlando since 1998 and will train there for what is expected to be the final time in 2018.