The Nationals and Houston Astros are still hoping to construct and share a new spring training facility in Palm Beach County, and are expected to submit a revised plan for a complex in the coming weeks. Springtrainingonline.com reports that the teams are hoping to finalize arrangements for the project by the end of the year, despite being courted by other cities in both Florida and Arizona.
Giles Kibbe, general counsel for the Astros, told the Palm Beach Post that the tract near West Palm Beach remains the preferred desintation for the teams even though "different municipalities have been reaching out to both teams."
West Palm Beach is trying to acquire a parcel at Haverhill Road and 45th Street, between Interstate 95 on the east and the Florida Turnpike on the west, that was formerly the site of a garbage dump. The city and Palm Beach County are considering a land swap to allow the city to acquire the parcel, on which a stadium, practice fields and team offices would be constructed at a cost in excess of $100 million.
The Nationals prefer other tracts in Palm Beach County, but those plans have drawn opposition from nearby residents because of their proximity to schools and protected wetlands.
There continue to be some cost issues associated with the project that will need to be overcome. While some of the costs will be covered by a state fund designed to subsidize sports-related projects across Florida, rent alone won't offset the remainder of the total.
It's possible that the shortfall could come from a combination of hotel taxes and funds directly from the teams.
The Nationals currently train out of Space Coast Stadium in Viera, but want to move closer to other teams to cut down on the amount of travel necessary during the Grapefruit League schedule. They have courted or been courted by several cities, including Fort Myers and Kissimmee.
The Astros currently train out of Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, where one plan had them sharing a new facility near their current home. They are seeking a newer complex featuring upgraded amenities.