Nats continue pursuit of new spring home in Palm Beach County

The Nationals are continuing their efforts to move their spring training headquarters to Palm Beach County, and they may not be the only team exiting Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla.

The Single-A Brevard County Manatees, a Brewers affiliate that plays in the Florida State League are listening to a pitch from Winter Park, Fla., near Orlando, where a new $30 million stadium would be built on a site owned by Rollins College.

News of the Manatees' proposed move came on the same day that representatives of the Nationals and Astros - who are hoping to share a spring training facility - met with Palm Beach County officials. However, according to this story in the Palm Beach Post, there are several issues to be hammered out, including construction costs, responsibilities for maintenence and who will pay for the new two-team complex.

The Nationals had hoped a site in Lake Worth, at the southern end of Palm Beach County, would be workable. However, that location has been deemed too small for a two-team facility, and the teams are reportedly now training their attentions on a 160-acre tract near West Palm Beach that was formerly the site of a landfill.

Palm Beach County administrator Bob Weisman said the proposed facility would cost on excess of $100 million. Plans call for a stadium similar in size to 6,871-seat Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, a two-team complex that houses the Cardinals and Marlins during Grapefuit League play and spring training workouts.

Last week, the Florida legislature passed a bill expanding state funding of sports facilities utilizing sales tax rebates. Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign the legislation

Representatives of the Astros and Nationals want to meet again soon, according to Weisman.

The Nationals are interested in leaving Viera to cut down on the amount of travel necessary during spring training. If they partnered with the Astros in a new facility, they would join the Cardinals and Marlins in Jupiter and the Mets in Port St. Lucie in a small geographic area.

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