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FORT MYERS | City turns to residents to decide the future of City of Palms Park

Posted at 7:35 PM, Sep 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-21 08:34:52-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — "If you build it they will come":

It's a line from a famous baseball movie, but many people in the midtown community feel it's also true for the City of Palms Park baseball stadium.

The City of Palms Park opened in 1993 and was once home to the Boston Red Sox for training camp; but the team left in 2011.

"This thing has been sitting here for a long time, and every year it looks worse and worse," said Fort Myers resident David Ellison, who lives across from the park.

Ellison has called the midtown area of downtown Fort Myers his home for nearly 40 years. He's seen the crowds come and go and is all for a professional team calling the stadium home... though he would like to see something more.

“It’s a big enough place to make it a little grocery store, we need apartments for people to live," he said.

And that's something the city is considering as it turns to the community to decide what's next for the stadium.

Fort Myers spokeswoman Liz Bello-Matthews says two professional soccer teams are interested in the stadium; however, the city is waiting to see exactly what the public wants.

The first public hearing on the future of the ball park was held on September 20, with a second on September 28 at 4 p.m. If you can't make it to a meeting, you can still voice your opinion through the survey on the city's website.

Like many people in midtown, Ellison says he just wants something to be done.

"I'm just getting sick and tired of seeing it on the news every year saying 'What are we gonna do with it,'" he said. "Something that will keep the community vibrant and make people want to move to the neighborhood."