The city of Stuart may redevelop Sailfish Ballpark into a residential area with condos or apartments

STUART, FL - If you build it they will come.  That's the concern in Stuart.  A new ballpark in Palm City could mean empty fields in Stuart so city officials are making plans now.

"It seems quite busy pretty much every evening," says parent Beth Alcalde.

Whether it's a game, practice or a few swings in the batting cage Sailfish Ballpark sees action every day.

"In my memory this was the best and only real ballfields," says Alcalde whose son plays little league baseball.

Sailfish Ballpark has been here for decades.  But in the next year, most of the little league teams will move from Stuart's ballpark to Citrus Grove Park.  Martin County just built the $4 million dollar park in Palm City.

Stuart officials know exactly what that means.

"It was won't used as much," says Stuart Mayor Troy McDonald.

So what do you do with an empty ballpark?

"This could be an opportunity to add additional housing units in the downtown area," says McDonald.

The city is making plans to put out an RFP advertising the eight acre property to see if a developer want to buy the property and build condos or apartments there.

"We want to grow the city," says McDonald, "We want to bring more people into downtown."

That would be a big change for longtime residents.

"I would feel nostalgic and sad about it but I understand that progress needs to be made," says Alcalde.

The city still wants kids to play ball.  They're working on plans to build another ballpark on 10th Street in east Stuart. An area the city is trying to redevelop.

"Turning them into more valuable, more utilized properties," says McDonald.

City officials plan to review a draft of the proposal in the coming weeks.


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