City of Palms Park

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City of Palms Park
Cityofpalsms.jpg
Location 2201 Edison Ave
Fort Myers, Florida 33901
Owner Lee County Sports Authority
Capacity 8,000 (2008)
Field size Left Field: 330 ft
Center Field: 410 ft
Right Field: 330 ft
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground 1992
Opened 1993
Architect Populous
Structural engineer Bliss & Nyitray, Inc
Tenants
Spring Training
Boston Red Sox (AL) (1993–2011)
Minor League
GCL Red Sox (GCL) (1993–2011)

City of Palms Park is a baseball stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. It served as the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox from its opening in 1993 to 2011. The stadium was built in 1992 for that purpose and holds 8,000 people. It was also the home of the Red Sox Rookie team, the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, from June through August. The stadium's name is taken from the city's official nickname. The City of Fort Myers occasionally uses the venue for concerts.

A crew of six is on hand during spring training to groom the Ballfields/Common grounds. Since Lee County Parks and Recreation has taken this facility over from the City of Fort Myers in 2003, the Grounds Crew has won the Ground Crew of the year award for the Red Sox Gulf Coast League in 2005 and 2007.

City of Palms Park is one of four spring training facilities in Fort Myers. The Minnesota Twins train in Hammond Stadium on the Southern end of Fort Myers. Terry Park Ballfield (also known as the Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium) in East Fort Myers is not in use, however, it is the former home of the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals. In February 2012, the Boston Red Sox moved their spring training operations into the newly constructed jetBlue Park at Fenway South located on County Road 876 (Daniels Parkway) in Fort Myers. It is also located close to Southwest Florida International Airport.

Player Development Complex[edit]

A little league field in Fort Myers supports the Red Sox.

The Player Development Complex is where the Red Sox trained and practiced before the exhibition season began at City of Palms. It also housed all the Minor League affiliates and coaches the entire month of March, and it is where players were reassigned as they whittle the roster down during spring training. Once spring training ends, Extended spring training ran from April through the beginning of the Gulf Coast League season. Instructional league took place there from September to October.

This Complex includes: five baseball fields with bullpens and eight batting tunnels. The Clubhouse includes: a spacious meeting room, conference room, kitchen, six offices, a spacious players' locker room with showers, a Trainer/Therapy room, a Hydro-Therapy room, laundry room, an Umpire locker room, Coaches' locker room, and a new, expanded weight training room that was added in 20042005.

Move to JetBlue Park[edit]

The Red Sox's lease with Fort Myers runs through 2019, however, team ownership had been toying with exercising the early out in their contract that allows them to leave following the 2009 spring season. Chief operating officer Mike Dee met with Sarasota officials in April 2008 to discuss the possibility of the Red Sox moving to Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium once its current spring inhabitants, the Cincinnati Reds, move to their new spring home in Goodyear, Arizona.

On October 28, 2008, the Lee County commission voted 3-1 to approve an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to build a new spring-training facility for the team in south Lee County.

In April 2009, the Lee County commissioners selected the Watermen-Pinnacle site on Daniels Parkway (a little more than a mile east of Interstate 75) as the site for the new facility. The backup choice, if negotiations between county staff and the developer faltered, was the University Highland site just north of Germain Arena in Estero.

On February 25, 2010, the Boston Red Sox officially released the proposed architectural plans for its new training facility in Fort Myers, FL. The new stadium is located 12 miles from City of Palms Park, and was designed as a miniature version of Fenway Park. The field configuration is exactly the same as Fenway's, and includes a Green Monster in left field that is 6 feet taller than the original.[1] On March 29, 2011, the Red Sox announced that the new field would be named JetBlue Park.[2]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 26°38′4″N 81°52′2″W / 26.63444°N 81.86722°W / 26.63444; -81.86722