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BACK TO SQUARE 1: Another setback in the Ft Myers saga to revitalize Palms Park

Posted at 5:43 PM, Apr 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-05 11:24:52-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It is back to the negotiating table for Fort Myers City Council and the City of Palms Park.

The city told the company that was possibly revitalizing the stadium, Pitch Prime, that they're moving on. Negotiations stopped for several reasons.

"I don't think we're really there at this point," said Fort Myers City Manager Marty Lawing at a March 25 workshop. "I'm recommending that we move to the second ranking group to see if we can negotiate some terms that are acceptable."

City Council started negotiations with Pitch Prime months ago, hoping to strike a deal on the redevelopment of Midtown and the stadium.

However, some council members expressed disappoint with the plan from Pitch Prime, citing the money it would take to build it and other factors.

"At the very least it would have been nice to have been able to hear why the manager didn't think he hit the target that council laid out," a Pitch Prime representative told City Council on April 1.

In a 5-2 vote, Council voted to not talk about what was considered a "walk-on" agenda item, meaning it wasn't on the agenda in the first place. However, Pitch Prime claims they were invited to present yet another plan that same day — April 1.

"I don't know where we go from here," another Pitch Prime representative said.

Council decided to go in a different direction: the second ranking proposal, which was from the United Soccer League.

There are two catches, according to Lawing.

USL must be interested in the first place and they need to drop a lawsuit against the city, which questioned the council's selection process of Pitch Prime.

According to court records, the USL dropped the lawsuit three days after the meeting where City Council informally said they would be moving on to the USL.

Fox 4 has reached out to the USL and Pitch Prime for further comment, but have not heard back as of Thursday afternoon.