Cardinals, Marlins Owners Want Palm Beach County Taxpayer Money

Show us the money.

Jupiter, Florida taxpayers will soon be answering a question. Do you want to invest more than one hundred million dollars to upgrade Jupiter’s minor league baseball park which serves as the spring training home of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins? The two teams want bigger clubhouses for the spring training season and for the minor league Class A players who play in the stadium from April until August annually. The two baseball teams also want to increase their revenues and to do that, they want additional seating, a new scoreboard, which can feature all sorts of commercials, and expanded concession areas which also can put more money into the pockets of the Cardinals and Marlins owners. It appears the Cardinals and Marlins owners may or may not be dipping into their pockets to finance the renovations. That is to be determined by lease negotiations but the majority of the funding will come from taxpayers. And the consultants that municipalities hire to make the case to upgrade stadiums have the answer as to why it is such a good investment. Palm Beach County has two spring training stadiums and that put $70 million annually into the local economy.

Where will the $111 million needed for the upgrades be found? Florida has a spring training fund, there is a Palm Beach County tourism tax that goes to projects. But there is a problem in Jupiter. If the tourism tax goes to renovate the Jupiter ball park, then other projects will not have access to what really is a limited stream of money. There seems to be some plan to build a cultural center in south Palm Beach County and an equestrian center may be on the drawing board for the northern part of the county. The two baseball teams will lobby for spring training stadium funding.