St. Lucie County Commissioners unanimously approved a new Facilities Use Agreement (FUA) with the New York Mets to provide $55 million in renovations to Tradition Field and keep professional baseball in Port St. Lucie for another 25 years.
Furthermore the new agreement provides a substantial increase, roughly $400,000 a year, in promotional efforts by the New York Mets to promote St. Lucie County as a tourist destination within the critical New York market.
Under the terms of the new agreement, St. Lucie County will be seeking a $60 million bond, which includes $55 million for new construction and renovations to Tradition Field – the spring training home of the New York Mets and the summer home of the Florida State League St. Lucie Mets. Over the 25-year time frame of the agreement, St. Lucie County will pay 53 percent; the Mets will be pay 35 percent and the State of Florida will pay 12 percent. This agreement and construction project is contingent on the State of Florida providing a $20 million grant over the next 20 years. The county’s contributions toward the construction will be paid for with portions of the 5-cent hotel tax, which is generated from hotel, RV site and/or condo stays within St. Lucie County for less than six months.
“We are excited about the modernization of the facility which will significantly improve the fan experience,” said New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “St. Lucie County will remain a destination for hundreds of thousands of Mets fans for years to come.”
“St. Lucie County has had an excellent working relationship with the Mets since they agreed to come to Port St. Lucie in 1988. And this new agreement only strengthens that partnership to keep them here another 25 years, but also provides some additional exposure for our county to our No. 1 tourism market,” added St. Lucie County Administrator Howard Tipton.
St. Lucie County staff will now begin the process to apply for the $20 million in state funding and move forward on hiring a project manager and architect to oversee the $55 million in renovations to Tradition Field. Proposed improvements to Tradition Field include a new entrance; a walkway connector around the outfield; a new practice field; a players’ academy for the Mets; a Little League/softball complex for public tournaments; new major league and minor league clubhouses, offices and locker rooms. Construction could begin as early as the spring of 2017.
Owned and operated by St. Lucie County’s Parks, Recreation and Facilities Department, Tradition Field is located at 525 NW Peacock Blvd., Port St. Lucie. Originally built as Thomas J. White Stadium, the complex has been the spring training home of the New York Mets and summer home of the Florida State League St. Lucie Mets since it opened in 1988. In addition to hosting professional baseball games, the complex can hold more than 7,000 people and has been used for numerous community events, festivals and fundraisers.