Indian River County commissioners approve Dodgertown land swap

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – The Indian River County Board of Commissioners approved on Tuesday a land swap with the City of Vero Beach that will allow Minor League Baseball to expand its facilities for youth sports at the Dodgertown site at the intersection of 43rd Avenue and 26th Street.

The swap, which has been under consideration since last fall, got a unanimous thumbs up from the commissioners after County Attorney Alan Polackwich said an environmental study found no problems with the land the county is acquiring.

Polackwich also said he was confident there would be adequate access to the new facilities, despite some uncertainty about an easement.

“Minor league leases the Dodgertown facility from the county,” Commissioner Wesley Davis said. “They are in charge of building the brand of baseball, from little leagues up. They are trying to hold more tournaments and make the place more profitable, and the only way they can increase capacity of tournaments and people using the facility is to build four new baseball diamonds. The purpose of the swap is so they can build the new fields closer to their core facilities so players won’t have to walk so far from the practice fields and living quarters.”

The City of Vero Beach owns the 12-acre parcel where Minor League Baseball wants to build the new fields.  The swap involves the city transferring ownership of that land to the county in exchange for a 10-acre  county-owned parcel west of Holman Stadium.

The city council is slated to consider the agreement at its regular meeting today. If the city approves the exchange, Davis said the transfer would be effective immediately.

“If they approve the same verbiage we approved and the documents are signed, the deal will be officially done by the time the ink is dry,” he said.

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