According to an article on the Palm Beach Post website, Palm Beach County officials met yesterday to discuss what to do with regards to the proposed Blue Jays and Astros spring training facility. This became necessary after the scheduled plans to build a stadium in Palm Beach Gardens fell through due to complaints from the locals.
While it seems like little came of this meeting, County Administrator Bob Weisman did tell the Post that “the county will do research and talk to officials of St. Lucie and of other Palm Beach County cities, to see if they’re interested in hosting the teams”.
St. Lucie County currently plays host to the New York Mets, who hold their spring training in the city of Port St. Lucie. If they manage to find another feasible location within the county, it would likely be in the only other city, Fort Pierce (I’ve done some pretty good wikipedia research if I must say so myself). As of 2012, Fort Pierce had a population close to 43,000, which is actually about 10,000 more than the Blue Jays current affiliate city, Dunedin.
While the Fort Pierce option certainly could be viable, a location within Palm Beach County seems like a much more likely scenario. Palm Beach is willing to work with St Lucie to make sure baseball survives in the region, but they would much rather place a complex within their own borders. Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium, currently shared by the Marlins and Cardinals, would have been an ideal location, but the article suggests that neither team is an immediate threat to leave. Thankfully there are other workable Palm Beach options; West Palm Beach has a population of over 100,000 and Boca Raton, who actually attempted to get a team back in 2006, is home to just over 87,000 people.
Weisman also said that “It [is] more likely that public park land [will] be used rather than spending for a large, privately owned tract.”
This seems to coincide with another article published by the Palm Beach Post back on December 27th which talks about a Boca Ratonian businessman, Glenn Gromann, who is trying to gather support for a local complex. Gromann is on multiple city boards and committees and is an influential member of the city’s business landscape. The plan calls for the city to investigate whether the remaining 100 acres of from a 300 acre lot they purchased in 2000 would be enough for a complex.
This is a lot of speculation and there is still plenty of research to be done, but the takeaway seems to be that despite the recent setback, Palm Beach County is still very much looking to bring the Blue Jays and Astros into the region, with Boca Raton looking like the most desirable landing spot.
Picture via DJF.