INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Indian River County Board of Commissioners and the Vero Beach City Council approved at their regular meetings Tuesday to complete the Dodgertown land swap.
The Indian River County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 to approve the swap. The City Council voted 5-0 to complete the four months of negotiations that will allow the Vero Beach Sports Village to build a cloverleaf of baseball fields it says is crucial to its survival.
The city’s approval was contingent on some issues over easements being settled.
The swap involves about 12 acres of land south of Holman Stadium Vero Beach will give to the county, while the county gives the city about 11 acres of land west of Holman Stadium creating basically a rectangular property running along 26th Street and 43rd Avenue.
With the land south of Holman Stadium under county control, Minor League Baseball, which is operating the facility as the Vero Beach Sports Village, will build the softball and little league fields that will help with its goal of being a year-round sports destination.
Commissioner Peter O’Bryan, who had been against the swap because he thought the county was giving away too much in terms parking rights and future use of the land, voted in favor because as he had noted the board had decided to move forward on the issue.
“I will be a team player on this and I believe it is important to show unity going forward in support of the Vero Beach Sports Village,” he said.
What was presented last year as a fairly straightforward land swap ended up taking months of back and forth between the city and the county. The framework of the deal was finally reached last month at a rare joint session between the city and the county.
Commissioner Solari had voted consistently against the deal, but he too said he was behind the success of the sports village now that the deal has been done. Solari said that, while he had many problems with the deal, the Commission made a commitment at the joint meeting with the City of Vero Beach and he did not wish to reopen the issue.”After the vote at the joint session I told (Minor League Baseball vice President) Craig Callan, ‘We are all ballplayers now,'” he said.