City of Palms Park costing taxpayers as it sits empty

Reporter: Peter Fleischer
Published: Updated:

WINK Investigates previously uncovered it costs $500,000 a year for maintenance at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers.

The park once hosted the Boston Red Sox for spring training, but it hasn’t had a major league tenant since the Sox moved their operations to JetBlue Park in 2012.

The city of Fort Myers sold the park to the county in 2003 to offset maintenance costs, but city taxpayers continued to pay the bond on it. Then, in 2021, the city regained ownership of the park when it planned to make the property part of its Midtown development.

But through all those years and multiple ownership transactions, city taxpayers still paid on the bond from the 1990s just to get the park built.

That bond should be nearly paid off. WINK Investigates has record requests out to determine where that total stands.

Using those numbers, taxpayers have shelled out around $6 million in maintenance costs alone since the Red Sox left. Potential legal action would only add to those expenses.

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