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Atlanta Braves Look To Sarasota County For Spring Training

Mar 9, 2016

The Atlanta Braves could soon spend a few months of the year in southern Sarasota County if officials have their way.

Sarasota County Administrator Tom Harmer sent an email to Sarasota County Commissioners Monday informing them about a proposal to bring the team to North Port for spring training. The West Village Improvement District made the bid for the team.

In his email, Harmer said the Braves, who currently train at ESPN's Wide World of Sports facility in Orlando, are looking to relocate closer to other MLB spring training facilities. The two teams that also spend spring in the Orlando area, the Washington Nationals, who train in Viera, and the Houston Astros, who work in Kissimmee, are moving down to Palm Beach County in 2017.

No stadium or facilities currently exist at the proposed West Village site, which is located south of State Road 41 and west of River Road.

The District, a special purpose local government in North Port, is expected to issue bonds to pay for the creating of a new stadium. Sarasota County has been asked to pitch in tourism development tax revenues to pay for the project.

The deal with the Braves would be a 30 year lease, according to Harmer's email.

The North Port site is one of many the Braves are considering for a move that could happen as early as 2018.