NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) – The Atlanta Braves are on the hunt for a new Spring Training facility. The move follows other Major League Baseball teams who have relocated to new digs.
The Braves have played in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando for nearly 20 years.
The team is eyeing undeveloped land in the West Villages just south of the Tamiami Trail. “Baseball is a great fit. It’s perfect for the community because it involves people of all ages. Baseball, especially the Braves, are known for giving back to the community. And so it really enhances the lifestyle,” Sondra Guffey with West Villages said.
The training facility would include a 7,500-seat stadium, practice fields and other improvements. “We’re certainly excited about the opportunity and the possibilities, but it is a process which we’re going (through). There is some work that remains to be done so we’ll see how far it takes us,” said Jeff Maultsby, Sarasota County’s director of business and economic development.
North Port is one of a several Florida communities under consideration for the new Braves complex. “You hear that news, you get excited about Major League Baseball right here in North Port. For the city to potentially be known as the home of the Braves and Spring Training, it is exciting,” said Josh Taylor, with North Port.
If it all happens, pine and palm scrub land will be transformed. ”Sports tourism is one of our target industries in Sarasota County so it would benefit us tremendously. You look around our community, the other amenities that we have, adding this asset to that list would be tremendous,” Maultsby said.
The Braves are looking at having their new Spring Training facility up and running as early as spring 2018.
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