Mets, St. Lucie Co. make deal for 25 more years

Mets, St. Lucie Co. make deal for 25 more years

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A $55 million deal has been struck between the city of Port St. Lucie and the New York Mets to keep professional baseball at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie for another 25 years.

St. Lucie County Commissioners unanimously approved a new Facilities Use Agreement that states the county will provide $55 million in renovations to Tradition Field.

Over the 25-year timeframe of the agreement, St. Lucie County will pay 53 percent; the Mets will pay 35 percent and the State of Florida will pay 12 percent. This agreement and construction project is contingent on the State of Florida providing a $20 million grant over the next 20 years.  The county says their contributions toward the construction will be paid for with portions of the 5-cent hotel tax, which is generated from hotel, RV site and/or condo stays within St. Lucie County for less than six months.

The new agreement provides a substantial increase, about $400,000 a year, in promotional efforts by the New York Mets to promote St. Lucie County as a tourist destination within the New York market.

"We are excited about the modernization of the facility which will significantly improve the fan experience," said New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. "St. Lucie County will remain a destination for hundreds of thousands of Mets fans for years to come."

St. Lucie County will be hiring a project manager and architect to oversee the $55 million in renovations to the Tradition Field. Construction could begin as early as the spring of 2017.

Originally built as Thomas J. White Stadium, Tradition Field has been the spring training home of the New York Mets and summer home of the Florida State League St. Lucie Mets since it opened in 1988.

Associated Press 2016