The state has approved $20 million for St. Lucie County for improvements at First Data Field, spring training home to the New York Mets.
The state Department of Economic Opportunity informed the county that it is eligible to receive the money in monthly installments of $83,333 for 20 years.
The money will be used as part of a proposed $55 million improvement project for the stadium, intended to keep the Mets at First Data Field, formerly Tradition Field.
In November, the city of Port St. Lucie and the New York Mets struck a deal to keep the team there 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 the field.
The agreement was contingent on the state providing the $20 subsidy.
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 in a news release at the time. "St. Lucie County will remain a destination for hundreds of thousands of Mets fans for years to come."
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