FORT MYERS, Fla. — Lee County says repairs to the fairly new JetBlue Park in Fort Myers could save lives. Commissioners are slated to approve a quarter-million dollar budget for the repairs next week, but construction has already started.
In 2012 JetBlue Park became home to the Boston Red Sox Spring Training games, welcoming 11,000 fans to their stands. But, Commissioner Brian Hamman says the facility already needs repairs.
“We’re concerned about the safety of the facility. So, they shut it down. They made sure that nobody went over it, and they started repairing as soon as possible,’ he said.
Photos released by the county show cracks in the concrete base of the skyway connection, both on the north and south ends. The skyway is the elevated sidewalk that connects one side of the stadium to the other.
Last month, Lee County’s procurement management director requested the emergency purchase for $250,000, stating the concrete walkway has become compromised and could be “an extremely catastrophic if not fatal situation if it were to collapse.”
“The repairs were so serious and so urgent, that they began working on it, and now they’re going to ask the commissioners to approve the emergency repairs retroactively,” said Hamman.
The $78 million stadium’s only about 9 years old. Hamman says the damage could be caused by several different factors.
“Concrete does crack over time, and deteriorate over time. The sun does beat down over the stadium over time. Also, in Florida has water intrusion as well, where the water seems to creep in, and deteriorate certain structures,” he said.
Hamman says repairs should be done by Monday. The first spring training game is scheduled for February 27th. Lee County Commissioners will retroactively vote on the repairs at the next board meeting on Tuesday.