Lee commissioners reviewing Twins spring training complex

— Amid all the hoopla surrounding the $75 million JetBlue Park the Red Sox facility, Lee County commissioners shifted their attention Tuesday to the team across town.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to proceed with an analysis of the Lee County Sports Complex and Hammond Stadium, the spring home of the less-celebrated Minnesota Twins. Commissioner Brian Bigelow dissented.

“It gives us an opportunity to coordinate with the Twins on future expansion opportunities as well as expansions of county facilities for public use,” Commissioner Ray Judah said.

Lee County’s contract with the Twins runs through 2020 and includes regular review periods for the stadium to consider things like seating, parking and the condition of the facility.

Public Works Director Doug Meurer said the county met with Twins executives over the summer. Ideas like a second elevator and expanded parking were among the items discussed.

“This starts to trim down these ideas into a manageable list of options,” Meurer said of the upcoming review.

The review process will be an overview of the facility and its current condition as well as options for expanding the stadium, improving parking or adding a new county function to the Sports Complex. The county purchased a parcel of land just south of Hammond Stadium over the summer, which could be added to the Twins facility or used as a county park.

While Commissioners Judah and Frank Mann seemed eager to proceed with the project, Bigelow questioned the whole process of funding baseball facilities as well as the role of the local Tourism Development Council.

“We’re spending a whole lot of money so that wealthy people can throw baseballs around,” Bigelow said. “Our TDC should be working to bring people here to throw beach balls.”

The facility review will be scheduled for a county commission meeting later this year.

In other news, commissioners approved the final funding agreement of nearly $1 million for the new bus service in the Bonita Springs area, which starts operation on Thursday and travels from Estero south to Immokalee Road in Collier County.

© 2011 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 7

itmattershere writes:

Twins make enough money to do their own upgrades, as well as other sports teams, and if they are not or can not, get out of the business, because you obviously can't make money.

RayPray writes:

Hope they put it in Leroy Acres. Lots of vacant land there now....

swfl_ff writes:

Problem is that Lee County spent all that time and money kissing the Red Sox's butt so they have not choice but to make nice with the Twins.

Thankfully the Twins have been good citizens while here and have not really asked for much over the years. Shame the overpriced and over rated Red Sox can't be more that way.

swampbuggy writes:

Another perfect opportunity for Ray Judah to throw taxpayers money out the window like confetti.

Bramble writes:

While Lee Govt. cuts services and lays off staff, Commish Ray Judah welcomes this "expansion opportunity" to throw more public cash at wealthy pro ball team owners.

These public-private taxpayer ripoffs have been exposed over and over by respected economic analysis. But the myth and the graft of corportate welfare still sell the deal. Will our leaders ever wake up?

swampbuggy writes:

in response to Bramble:

While Lee Govt. cuts services and lays off staff, Commish Ray Judah welcomes this "expansion opportunity" to throw more public cash at wealthy pro ball team owners.

These public-private taxpayer ripoffs have been exposed over and over by respected economic analysis. But the myth and the graft of corportate welfare still sell the deal. Will our leaders ever wake up?

They won't wake up until they get voted out. Gary Price who suddenly claims to be conservative, backed the same scam for the Cubs.

Geees writes:

in response to swfl_ff:

Problem is that Lee County spent all that time and money kissing the Red Sox's butt so they have not choice but to make nice with the Twins.

Thankfully the Twins have been good citizens while here and have not really asked for much over the years. Shame the overpriced and over rated Red Sox can't be more that way.

Well put!!! Just 'cause they have won the World Series more times the the Twins, so what.

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