Palm Beach County Reconsidering Astros' Targeted Spring Training Site
The Astros' efforts to land a Spring Training complex in Palm Beach Gardens "appeared to have shifted Thursday after city officials urged the county to look for better sites elsewhere, amid intense opposition from homeowners near the proposed site," according to Tony Doris of the PALM BEACH POST. But city, county and team officials said that the initial site "remains on the table as a possible location." Palm Beach Gardens spokesperson Tom McNicholas said that "no site has been rejected, only that the city is asking the county to take the lead now in finding the best site." Palm Beach County Commissioner Hal Valeche on Thursday was asked to "lead the search and to consider at least three sites" (PALM BEACH POST, 12/20). Astros General Counsel Giles Kibbe on Thursday night said that he "did not consider the news a blow to the team's efforts to settle in its targeted location." He added, "We’re happy that they’re going through that process. I think it’s the right thing to do, with so many people interested in where the place will be built if it’s going to happen." In Houston, Evan Drellich noted the Astros have trained at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee since '85, and that lease expires in '16. The Astros and Blue Jays "are looking to build a shared complex." Kibbe said, "We need to drive attendance to make this work. A better site -- we’re always interested in what people are suggesting, and if they have a different opportunity or different locations then we’ll look at them. We need to be comfortable that the stadium will be built in a place that will draw the maximum attendance. That’s what we’re focused on. If they have a better location, then we’re interested in that. If not, then we’ll be looking to go back to the current location" (CHRON.com, 12/19).