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PLAY BALL! Charlotte Sports Park renovations all done ahead of Rays' spring training

More than $17.5 million spent to repair the park after Hurricane Ian damage
Posted at 6:20 PM, Feb 01, 2024

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — The Charlotte Sports Park, which was destroyed by Hurricane Ian in 2022, has finished being repaired and will be open in time for the Tampa Bay Rays spring training season.

The Rays have held spring training in Port Charlotte since 2009, but the damage caused by Hurricane Ian forced the team to play spring training in Orlando and their home field in Tampa last year.

"Last spring was kind of a very disruptive spring, starting at Disney for a couple of weeks then going to Tropicana Field," said Dan Moeller, Rays Director of Special Projects and Field Operations.

Now the repairs have been made to the park's damaged lights, roofs, batter's eye, clubhouses, buildings, boardwalk and playing surfaces. In total the repairs cost over $17.5 million.

"It was devastating to walk through it," said Tommy Scott, Director of Charlotte County Community Services. "To see it now, ready with players out back, pitchers and catchers showing up in a couple weeks, we are so excited to have our Major League Baseball partners back here."

Scott added the return of the Rays marks a new chapter in the partnership between the county and the team.

"The economic impact is outstanding," said Scott. "Beyond that its what they do for our community, the fact that they are out working with our kids, at camps, and giving back to our community."

With the Charlotte Sports Park ready to play ball, pitchers and catchers will report to the facility on February 14, and the Rays will take on the Atlanta Braves for opening day on February 24.