City, County, Dodgertown officials meet to discuss golf course options

VERO BEACH — With two groups now interested in reviving the old Dodgertown golf course, government and Minor League Baseball officials met to discuss options for the property which has been fallow the last seven years.At issue for the Wednesday meeting at Dodgertown was arriving at possible solutions to satisfy the needs of all parties involved. The City of Vero Beach is obviously interested in generating revenue off the property and reviving the golf course may be the easiest avenue for that goal. Minor League Baseball is interested in building girls’ softball fields and possibly a soccer field to meet its objective of being a year-round sports destination. Attending the meeting were Vero Beach City Manager Jim Gabbard, Indian River County Administrator Joe Baird and Vice President of Minor League Baseball Craig  Callan. “It was very productive,” Callan said. “I thought both Joe and Jim were open to considering all options. We looked at aerial photographs and talked about if we (Dodgertown) needed to expand how it might effect plans for the golf course.” “We met (Wednesday) to clarify and try to brainstorm how we can satisfy everyone and make a decision that is best for city, county and Vero Beach Sports Village.”While the Dodgertown facility has a number of baseball fields they are built to major-league specifications and Callan is looking at building a cluster of softball fields which could be marketed for tournaments.The city owns the golf course property and the county has some adjacent land that would likely come into play whatever decision is ultimately made. Minor League Baseball has been told if the land is not used for some sort of greenspace operation, they would be given consideration for their expansion needs.Local resident M.J. Wicker spoke before the council, asking them to consider reestablishing the golf course. Both his family and the Wadsworth Foundation have expressed an interest in reopening the course to the public.City Manager Gabbard has recommended sending out a proposal request to get from the organizations their ideas for the golf course. Before he can send that request out, though, he told the council at Tuesday’s meeting that they need to determine what guidelines should be established.Should the organization pay rent or have the property rent-free? If the golf course were to reopen, what would the rates be to play?”I think they want to know what they’re getting into before they get into it,” Gabbard said of the organizations.

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