Braves may be moving to Sarasota County

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Braves may be bound for Sarasota County

Published: Monday, March 7, 2016 at 11:23 p.m.
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Sarasota County and other local leaders are talking with the Atlanta Braves about bringing the team to a new spring training complex in North Port as soon as 2018, according to an email from County Administrator Tom Harmer to county commissioners late Monday night.

The new complex, which would include an array of fields and ancillary facilities, could be built on about 100 acres in the West Villages south of U.S. 41 and west of River Road in North Port, according to the memo.

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News release on the Atlanta Braves

The developers of the West Villages, The Atlanta Braves and Sarasota County are negotiating terms for the funding, design and construction of a state-of-the-art Spring Training Destination in the new master-planned community. The proposed campus is envisioned to have training facilities, practice fields as well as a 7,500-seat stadium on a 100-150 acre site with direct access to US 41 and West Villages Parkway.

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“This is an excellent opportunity for our county as well as the entire region,” said Sarasota County Commission Chairman Alan Maio. “I believe the West Villages is uniquely positioned to partner with the Braves and the county to move these negotiations forward.”

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Braves president, John Schuerholz said, “We are excited and appreciative that West Villages and Sarasota County are working with us to potentially secure a beautiful, state-of-the-art, future Spring Training location for the Braves.”

“The opportunity to provide the Braves with a world class home for spring training matches our desire to create an intergenerational destination focused on an active lifestyle to make this possible,” stated West Villages General Manager Martin Black. “We think this part of the Suncoast is ideally suited for the Braves. The Braves are an icon in America’s sport and reflect the quality and values that the community will welcome and support. Our entire region will benefit from the dynamic economic impact.”

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Having a Major League Baseball presence in south county would further Sarasota County’s reputation as a sports tourism destination, according to Jeff Maultsby, the county’s director of Business and Economic Development.

This project is consistent with our goals to expand sports tourism throughout the county and would have a significant economic impact for the south county area,” Maultsby said. “We look forward to supporting the West Villages proposal and participating in the discussions with the team.”

The proposed property is located in south Sarasota County just off U.S. 41 in the new commercial core of the master-planned community of West Villages. It is adjacent to the State College of Florida-Venice campus and a future Sarasota Memorial Hospital 28-acre medical and wellness complex. The community is within 15 minutes of the Gulf beaches, historic downtown Venice and access to the wild and scenic Myakka River.

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