Firm approved to repair Tampa Bay Rays spring training home in Port Charlotte
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (WWSB) - Commissioners have approved a contract with Wharton Smith to start repair work on the stadium at the Tampa Bay Rays spring training complex in Port Charlotte.
This is welcome news to Bert Parsley, Owner of the Twisted Fork, the bar, restaurant and popular nightspot closest to the Charlotte County Sports Park stadium. Due to extensive damage to the stadium from Hurricane Ian, the Rays are splitting their spring training between Tropicana Field in St. Pete and Disney World in Orlando.
“Come on back, yeah I’d love to see the games back,” said Parsley, as not having spring training here this year will have an economic impact for his place and others. “It’s a bummer, we like our Rays here, we love our baseball here,” said Parsley. “It’s a shame to hear they weren’t coming, March is historically our busiest time of the year and we’re trying to see what happens this year.”
There are brighter days ahead for baseball fans in Charlotte County. There’s optimism the stadium will now be ready for the 2024 spring training season. ” It’s good to know they are moving ahead to stay here in Charlotte County,” said Steve Lineberry. “Of course for our members, it’s going to be a real plus when we get back to spring training and hopefully that’ll be in 2024.″
The total cost of the repairs are not exactly known at this time but it most likely will run into the millions. Charlotte County officials say the Rays spring training here does have an economic impact of around 15-million dollars. “We plan around the games, we advertise around the games,” said Parsley. “We do pre-game and post-game entertainment, we really go all out for the fans.”
Some players for the Tampa Bay Rays start reporting to spring training early next week. The first spring training game of the season for the Rays is on February 25th.
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