Homestead Sports activities Complicated receives remake as a metropolis contract with La Ley Nears

Written by Miami Today on April 28th, 2011

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By Zachary S. Fagenson
La Ley Enterprises just invested about $ 1 million in the often dormant Homestead Sports Complex to prepare for a Mixed Fighting Alliance match in early May and an international youth baseball tournament from June to August.

Although La Ley and the City of Homestead are yet to sign a contract for the use and possible purchase of the 140 acres, in January the city council ordered employees to work out a deal with La Ley and recently granted entertainment company Miami a 60-day one License to use the complex.

“Hopefully we will bring something forward in the next few weeks,” said Marleen Volkert, assistant to the management of City Manager George Gretsas.

Meanwhile, La Ley has redesigned “pretty much all of the seating, all of the suites, and the entire exterior of the ballpark,” said President John H. Ruiz. “We completely redesigned all the fields that were outside at the back, as well as the field in the main stadium. We took down the scoreboard and put in a huge LED screen. We have the sound system, the shelters, the changing rooms, all the indoor offices. “

La Ley has also replaced broken lights, built a baseball diamond for ages 7-13, and upgraded the complex to broadcast games in high definition.

Finally, Mr. Ruiz said, “We are in the process of building one [outdoor] Olympic-size pools and we’re also considering building a water park. “

At the beginning of the negotiations, Mr. Ruiz, a lawyer, said he planned to renovate much of the complex and add up to 20 indoor basketball courts to bring the city to life and pump $ 60 to 80 million into its economy.

In return, he would pay the complex’s maintenance costs, now $ 300,000 a year, and have the option to purchase the entire ball game for $ 16 million.

The official opening of the complex under La Ley is June 17, when baseball teams for teenagers 8-18 from all over the US plus Japan, Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and even Cuba fly to Miami until 12. Start August.

The popping of the bats in the facility could trigger a collective sigh of relief in the area.

The city built the baseball stadium, the centerpiece of the complex, in 1991 as a spring training home for the Cleveland Indians. Approximately $ 12 million of the $ 22 million construction cost was wrested from the city of Miami Beach when the courts ruled Homestead was required to collect tourist tax after Miami Beach broke an agreement to recover a surplus from the county’s 3% resort tax pool to give to Homestead.

The complex suffered approximately $ 6.2 million in damage from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. After the reconstruction, the Indians decided not to move in. Since then, the stadium has served a variety of uses, including as a backdrop for reality television and as a set in the Oliver Stone film “Any Given Sunday”.

Homestead has since tried unsuccessfully to use the rebuilt stadium for professional football and professional baseball teams for spring training.

Mr. Ruiz said his plan for the center will attract 150,000 to 200,000 people to the southern part of the county annually.

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