WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County commissioners have unanimously approved a $75.1 million bond deal to renovate the spring training home of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.
Commissioners voted 6-0 Tuesday in favor of renovating Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
From new bullpens to pitching mounds to new concession stands, a lot will go into the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium renovation.
"We need to keep baseball in Jupiter," Palm Beach County Commissioner Maria Marino said after the vote.
The Major League Baseball teams will remain in Jupiter until the middle of this century all because of a $111 million upgrade to the 25-year-old stadium, considered outdated by other big-league standards.
When asked if the facilities are far out of date, Mike Whittle, Cardinals senior vice president and general counsel, simply said, "They are. They are."
Commissioners signed off on raising $75 million in bonds to pay for the renovations.
BREAKING: Palm Beach County Commissioners unanimously approve $75-million bond deal to renovate Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Deal keeps @Cardinals @Marlins committed to spring training through 2049 pic.twitter.com/Oq1TWBLpdJ— Dave Bohman (@DaveBohmanWPTV) May 17, 2022
The money will come from the county's hotel bed tax. The state, teams and the company that runs the stadium will pay the rest of the $111 million project.
Glenn Jergensen, executive director of the Tourism Development Council of Palm Beach County, said fast action on renovations was needed.
"Other locations could attract those teams to make a decision to move because agreements will be up in a couple of years," Jergensen said.
Contact 5 found 59% of the stadium facelift will renovate the teams' clubhouses. That's baseball lingo for locker rooms and adjacent recreation rooms for players who, according to Major League Baseball, make an average of more than $4 million a year.
"Really to improve it, to bring it to the same standards of the other facilities that have been renovated or new facilities within Major League Baseball for spring training that they see in other ballparks and that they have become accustomed to," Whittle said.
The minor league Jupiter Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals will also benefit.
Is it worth it?
After three spring trainings impacted by COVID-19 and a labor lockout, preseason at two Palm Beach County stadiums is expected to bring in an economic impact of more than $60 million next year.
Marino said that will more than pay for an upgraded clubhouse for millionaire players.
There's one other benefit for Palm Beach County that tourism experts say should not be overlooked. The upgraded stadium and practice fields allow Jupiter to host national baseball tournaments in the summer and fall during a time that hotels are not traditionally full.
The deal keeps the teams at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium through 2049.