Detert Bill to help keep spring Training teams in Florida by Mitch E. Perry

03/10/06

Speaking of baseball, it is all around us in the Tampa Bay Area……As Is customary this time of year, no fewer than 7 teams within the listening range of this station are engaged in the rituals of Spring Training. Beginning a couple of weeks ago and lasting until the end of this month, the entire state of Florida, but particularly in the Tampa Bay Area and in South Florida, The Grapefruit League is in full season.

2 Years ago, the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater said goodbye to Jack Russelll Stadium and hello to Bright House Networks Parks……The Phillies, like other teams, hinted that they might find offers from Arizona, where the remaining baseball teams train, more inviting if it weren’t for economic concessions in building a new park.

On Tuesday in Tallahassee, the House Tourism Committee passed a bill would provide $500,000 a year each to keep the Cincinnati Reds in Sarasota , the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, as well as keeping three other Major League Baseball teams in Florida.

There must be a matching grant from the local County or City Government to get the funding – as it is designed to go to local government – NOT to the teams themselves.

The bill is sponsored by House Representative Nancy Detert, a Republican from Venice, and it would provide state sales tax revenues to the five teams for up to 30 years. (roll tape#1 o.q.�a good ad for Florida�)

Actually, The economic impact of sports for a community has sometimes been the subject of spirited debate – but there remains no question that Spring Training brings fans from across the country into in the Tampa Bay Area

Venice House Representative Nancy Detert says that locally, the legislation would help out the Pittsburg Pirates in Bradenton, and the Cincinati Reds, who train in Sarasota (roll tape#2 o.q.�will help them�)

The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported on Wednesday about a major plan to redevelop Sarasota County Fairgrounds would include a new, 8,000 seat Ed Smith stadium for the Reds, 8 training fields and a new office and training complex.

A local Business Journal in Pheonix, Arizona, reported this week that the feeling in Arizona is that at least 2 teams that train in Florida will announce plans to relocate to Arizona beginning in 2008. The paper even speculated that up to half of the teams in the 18-member Grapefruit League are mulling a change of scenery out West.

A similar effort by Detert has failed the past two years, but that's because money for the spring-training facilities and for the Florida Marlins and other sports facilities were crammed into the same bill

The Marlins- Miami’s home baseball team – have asked the legislature for $60 million dollars in tax subsidies to help pay for a new park. But this year, Representative Detert says these bills are separate (roll tape#3 o.q.�totally separate issue�)

Getting back to the redevelopement in Sarasota…some plans for the area include an estimate relocating the Sarasota County Fairgrounds could cost over $100 million dollars.

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