County, City to meet next week in rare joint session

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — In a compressed Board of County Commission meeting Tuesday, Commissioners set a rare joint public session with the Vero Beach City Council to settle the Historic Dodgertown land swap issue.The two bodies will meet Jan. 11 at 9 Building B at the county administration complex. They will discuss concerns which have come up dealing with parking and access to the property that have held up completing the deal.

The meeting will be part of the County Commissioners regularly scheduled board meeting. The City Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 18.Minor League Baseball, which is running the Vero Beach Sports Village on the Dodgertown property, is anxious to reach a conclusion to the negotiations so it may begin to build and market a cloverleaf of baseball fields south of Holman Stadium.Minor League Baseball Vice President Craig Callan has said the fields are essential to the business plans for the organization. He wants to begin marketing the fields for play in the Spring of 2012, but will not do so until approval is reached between the city and county to swap the land.The swap involves roughly the same amount of land but would give the county the property south of Holman Stadium where Minor League Baseball wants to build the fields.With the swap the city would hold a basically rectangular piece of land running along 26th Street and 43rd Avenue. The sticking point has become long-term parking rights and access to the property both to the complex off 26th Street and to the new land the county would obtain should the swap go through.Staff negotiators — Interim City Manager Monte Falls for Vero Beach and County Attorney Alan Polackwich for the county — have held a number of meetings on the subject. Due to the time constraints it was decided the joint session was the best way to settle the outstanding issues.The City Council has already voted 4-1 to accept the framework of an agreement the negotiators had reached. The county was unable to overcome its parking and access concerns, leading to the request for a joint meeting to settle the matter without the need for further delays.

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