Braves consider Collier for spring training

Posted at 6:31 PM, Apr 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-06 18:31:02-04

The Atlanta Braves could decide to play Grapefruit League games in Collier County, according to a Naples businessman.

Gary Price of 5th Avenue Advisors told Fox 4 that he's been talking to the Atlanta baseball team about moving their spring training home to Collier County for a few years. The team currently plays home spring training games in Orlando, but with most other teams playing farther south, Price said that the Braves are spending too much time on the bus traveling to away games.

"We're trying to build a compelling argument that we can provide the best location," Price said. "We think it's a great fit for our county, and it's a way to change the economic diversity."

He said that the team would like to be closer to other teams in the Grapefruit League like the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins, which have stadiums in Lee County.

But building a new stadium could cost 75 to 100 million dollars, which would come from both public and private funding. 

Commissioner Penny Taylor said that the undisclosed site for the new stadium would have to be re-zoned, and she doesn't think the neighbors would approve. 

"You're asking us as a commission to approve a stadium that abuts residential (properties,)" Taylor said. "As much as the will to do this is there, I'm not sure that it's really a viable plan at this point."

The Braves are considering other areas, such as North Port in Sarasota County. They hope to have new spring training home by 2018.