Winter Park pitching plan to move Manatees

Brevard Manatees, Rollins College to play at proposed park

By Justin Warmoth - Anchor

WINTER PARK, Fla. - Winter Park commissioners took their first vote Monday on a $33.25 million plan to remake the stadium on Rollins College campus and build a parking garage.
City leaders leaders hope having a minor league baseball team will bring more people to the area to spend money at shops and restaurants.

"Minor league baseball is one of those opportunities that helps make a well-rounded city," said Randy Knight, Winter Park's city manager.

With Monday's vote, the city got one step closer to making their dream a reality.

Commissioners voted in favor of extending the city's Community Redevelopment Agency for another 5 years -- something they needed to do to facilitate financing of the proposed complex.

"It'll be very family-oriented and I think it'll be something everybody will really enjoy, something that will really fit into Winter Park," said Winter Park resident Joe Terranova.

The proposed 2,500 seat stadium will be built at the existing Alfond Stadium, where Rollins College plays its home games.

City officials say it will cost more $33.25 million to complete the renovation, which also includes a 480-space parking garage.

But the proposed tenant to the new stadium already has a home in Brevard County, and that's not sitting well with folks on the Space Coast.

"I really enjoy the Manatees and really like going to watch them play. I'm very disappointed and sad to hear they're going to leave," said Brevard County resident Brian Wilson.

The Brevard County Manatees currently play at Space Coast Stadium in Viera.

If the team leaves, it will the 8,000-seat stadium virtually unused for 10 months out of the year.

County officials say they haven't heard anything from the Manatee's team owner, but say if they do leave, they'll have to fill the void, and attract amateur sports and festivals to the stadium.

Winter Park city leaders say they're going to present the proposal for the new stadium to Orange County commissioners in August.

If county officials vote to approve the upgrades, the new stadium is expected to be ready in Spring of 2016.

Dr. Tom Winters, owner of the Manatees, declined to comment until the deal is finalized.

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