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Business Observer Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 8 years ago

Lee approves Twins deal

Lee County commissioners approve plan to retain Minnesota Twins baseball team.

FORT MYERS — Lee County commissioners approved paying an estimated $42 million to make improvements to Hammond Stadium to retain the Minnesota Twins' spring training.

The county will issue long-term bonds to pay for the Fort Myers stadium improvements. Depending on the interest rates the county will have to pay for the bonds, the final tab for the project will be significantly higher than $42 million in construction costs.

Through a combination of increased rent, capital improvements and concession equipment, the baseball team will contribute $13.8 million to the project, according to the county's agreement with the team owners.

In addition, a state grant of $500,000 per year for 30 years will help pay for the bonds. The Twins have committed to a 30-year lease as part of the deal.

Hammond Stadium improvements will include more parking spaces to accommodate 400 additional spectators. In addition, there will be new pedestrian walkways leading to the stadium, a new outfield boardwalk, corporate-suite renovations including two new suite-level party decks, new concessions, training rooms for the players and new practice fields.

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