Odds are, you’ve heard of Dodgertown. Maybe you’ve even been there. It’s the famous Florida spring training facility of the Los Angeles Dodgers; or, at least, it was. After 61 years of training in Dodgertown, The west-coast based franchise decided that traveling to Glendale, Arizona suited them much better than a cross-country voyage every year. They’ll keep the rights to the trademarked name when they move.
So what becomes of the original Dodgertown? Well, MiLB, which is headquartered in Florida, has stepped in to sign a five-year-lease to manage the facility. They’re currently negotiating with the Dodgers to retain the name in some fashion, possibly “Historic Dodgertown”. They’re going to continue multi-use applications for the facility, allowing the county to stage events there and generally trying to keep the facility up and running. The ultimate goal is to attract another spring training resident.
Here are some provisions of the deal:
Similar to the Dodgers agreement, the MiLB lease provides the county with 10 days a year to use the facility, in addition to the Harvest Festival, an annual fundraising event for St. Helen Catholic School.
The lease charges MiLB a token rent of $1 a year and allows it to keep the proceeds from ticket and concession sales. But that’s no giveaway, County Commissioner Peter O’Bryan said.
“They get all the revenue, but they also get all the expenses,” he said.
• MiLB will have restricted access to a $2 million capital reserve account for improvements to the facility.
• MiLB will include Vero Beach and the county in its advertising of sporting events and receive at least $50,000 annually from tourist tax revenue for this.
• Field lights will be added to two existing playing fields this year and two additional playing fields in 2010. Vero Beach will provide up to $126,000 in tourist tax or local optional sales tax money toward the project
Sounds like a pretty sensible arrangement for everyone involved. As often as we see historic structures torn down, this should be a perfect interim arrangement until Dodgertown can find its ultimate future use, either as a history theme park, a home for a new team, or both.