Indian River County – the home to historic Dodgertown – and Major League Baseball have reached a ‘preliminary agreement’ in regards to a lease. The lease agreement could allow for the spring training home of the Dodgers from 1948 to 2008 to become a prominent youth hub for baseball and even larger tourist attraction.
Details began to break on the agreement late Thursday.
“We’re very, very close to working out the terms of a lease agreement,” Tony Reagins, MLB’s senior vice president of youth programs, said Thursday morning. “We’re excited about the opportunity to enhance the programs there.”
“We’re past the handshake,” said Peter O’Malley, the former Los Angeles Dodgers owner who in 2011 began running the county-owned sports complex after Minor League Baseball, citing financial losses, left. He brought the county and MLB together.
The terms of the lease are set to be for a 10-year pact, with three-five year options tacked on.
Nevertheless, several ghosts of Dodger past have helped attract sports teams from around the world to train and play at Vero Beach. These figures include O’Malley, Hideo Nomo, and Chan Ho Park among others. Currently, the Chinese women’s softball team is on-site and working out at the complex.
The impact on the local economy is huge. Indian River calculates that some 61,100 hotel rooms will be rented nightly, for an economic impact of $34 million. Without a doubt, this is a major tourist attraction with those type of numbers in play.
Major League Baseball will cover more than half the costs of renovations during the lease – with one of those plans being adding an indoor field.
Dodgertown lives on to age like a fine wine due to this agreement.
It’s great to see Dodgertown continue to flourish in it’s old age. So much is clear that O’Malley and many former Dodgers have a passion for the the old haunt – and have done much to keep it an active site for baseball going forward. Indeed, if you love baseball in any capacity and were too young to experience Dodgertown in its heyday; there’s going to be time for you to do so. You can read and learn more about the park at the official site.
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