The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity conditionally approved $20 million that will round out funding for the $75 million to $80 million project to bring Atlanta Braves baseball spring training to North Port.

This summer, the West Villages Improvement District, along with Sarasota County, the city of North Port and the Braves filed the grant application seeking money to help with facility construction costs for the public-private project. Officials described the state money as the “final piece of funding necessary to move the project forward.”

“We are pleased to have the state join the partnership of the city, county, West Villages Improvement District, Mattamy Homes and the Atlanta Braves to make this a reality,” said Martin Black, chairman of the West Villages Improvement District, in a statement on Friday.

The North Port City Commission, the Sarasota County Commission and the district will consider final development agreements with the team at their respective meetings on Sept. 12. If all of these boards approve the final agreements on that date, the project’s full funding will be committed and construction can start to transform the current cow pasture into a stadium, training and rehabilitation complex in time for the 2019 spring training season.

Read the full Sarasota Herald Article at

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