Homestead Sports activities Complicated meant for scrap heaps

 

After several reuses and heavy hits from two different hurricanes Homestead Sports Complex – once as a spring training home of Cleveland Indians – will likely be demolished, with the Miami suburb to solicit tenders for the demolition.

The Homestead Sports Complex cost $ 21 million and opened in 1991 as the city was working to bring spring training to Homestead. It worked at first: The Cleveland Indians signed a 20-year contract to move spring training to Homestead in 1993, at a time when several teams were training in southeast Florida. When Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc in Miami-Dade County in August 1992, it caused enough damage to the Homestead Sports Complex and the 6,000-seat ballpark that the Indians canceled their lease. Despite efforts to attract a new tenant, none of the MLB teams showed much interest in moving spring training to Homestead. There were a few failed attempts to reposition the complex (it was used as a temporary police station, for example), but further damage from Hurricane Irma pretty much sealed the deal to demolish the facility.

It seems like an unusual move: at a time when Florida sports complexes are a hot commodity and youth, high school, and college tournaments are big business in places like Cocoa, Vero Beach, Viera, Orlando, and Fort Myers there is no one way to some degree of renovation. (La Ley Sports once had the right to use the facility as a youth sports complex, but the company’s financial troubles ended that lease.) Even so, the climate is causing Florida buildings to age prematurely if not properly maintained, and it doesn’t sound like the complex has been diligently maintained. From the Miami Herald::

After Hurricane Irma caused more damage to the empty structure last year, the city commission asked [Homestead Parks and Public Works Director Dennis Maytan] conduct a feasibility study of the complex. “It’s a money pit,” Maytan admitted. Five of the six options that came back in the study involved demolishing the ballpark.

So the city asked for abandonment offers. Four companies offered their services at prices ranging from $ 594,800 to over $ 1 million. The Commission could discuss the offers at its July 10th meeting, but it will not be able to take final decisions until July 25th at the earliest. Maytan says he thinks demolition will proceed. What will replace the stadium remains to be seen. The city could try to sell the land, but it cannot be developed for most uses as it is in the airbase crash zone. Maytan hopes it will be a park.

“It breaks my heart to hear that they are looking for a way to tear it off,” he said [said Alex Muxo, city manager of Homestead when the complex was planned and built]. “Let’s just wish things had turned out differently, yes. But you cannot change nature and what happened. “

Photo by Adrian Salgado, used under a Creative Commons license.

About Kevin Reichard

Kevin Reichard is the founder and editor of Ballpark Digest.

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