NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - The new home of the Atlanta Braves opened just a few months ago here on the Suncoast just in time for the final game of spring training. Although the Braves won’t be back here until next year, CoolToday Park won’t be empty until then.
“Well, we produce baseball here. We produce championship quality baseball here. That’s our first and foremost endeavor, but then we also are creating a parallel path to have the facility become integrated into the community and all of Sarasota County," Mike Dunn, the Vice President of Operations, explained.
This 90-acre stadium has become a new destination that officials say will transform the area. Taking place this week, a baseball tournament where young athletes are able to play on the Braves’ practice fields.
“Kind of getting to see the field from a different perspective which so far the kids are really loving," said Dunn.
It’s not just for baseball fans. CoolToday Park is hosting all types of activities to bring the whole community under one roof.
“It lends itself to a lot more variety. A lot more things to do,” Kurt Sangmeister, a local who has lived in Venice for 17 years, told us as he visited the park for the first time.
Events coming up include movies on the big screen, farmers markets, concerts and a car show. Plus, the Tomahawk’s Tiki Bar inside the stadium is open every day and overlooks the field.
“I think it’s a fabulous addition to the area. It’s going to bring in a lot of tax dollars, a lot of tourism to the area. We all know that we live here in paradise, so it’s time for more people to know that and this is a great new place for our area,” Sangmeister said.
This new 20-year-agreement between the Atlanta Braves, CoolToday, Sarasota County and West Villages will allow the stadium to be used way beyond the spring season. It will be a 365 day a year operation.
“So people are able to come by and watch us produce baseball players, but still take in this beautiful facility, and have lunch or dinner in a non-traditional environment. This one-of-a-kind ballpark. You can’t beat that.,” Dunn expressed.
You can find a full list of the events taking place here.