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Major league baseball and water parks are becoming an unlikely recipe for success for the city of North Port. Here to discuss these new multi-millionaire dollar economic ventures is city manager Peter Lear. Thank you so much for being with us today.
Peter Lear: Thank you.
Candace Kelley: Yes, indeed. So, first of all, tell us about this new facility that you have, which is really going to service spring training for the Atlanta Braves.
Peter Lear: Yes, the Atlanta Braves. They opened, um, this past spring training. They had their last game there to finish the closeout of the spring training season. And, in February, they’re going to open the new spring training facility and have their whole spring training for the 2020 season, um, at the new facility.
Candace Kelley: Yeah.
Peter Lear: Which is a huge, huge benefit for our whole area. Not just the city, but the county and the whole region.
Candace Kelley: Absolutely. Talk to me about the growth that it’s brought so far.
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Peter Lear: So far, we’ve had multiple events at the facility. We’ve had, uh, the city’s signature event, the 4th of July fireworks were there. Um, America’s Got Talent hosted, um, a watch party for Emanne Beasha, who was one of the semifinalists, actually one of the finalists, ultimately, for the event. And we’ve had movie nights there. The Braves are doing all kinds of community events there.
Candace Kelley: Hmm, nice, nice.
Peter Lear: So, so, it’s huge.
Candace Kelley: The aquatic facility is on its way also.
Peter Lear: Yes, opening very soon. We’ll have a brand new $12-million aquatic facility in the city, which will include water slides, uh, a lazy river, as well as a pool designed for competition swimming.
Candace Kelley: You have been part of the community for decades now. Talk to me about just getting this off the ground and, and the process of getting here and finally seeing it happen.
Peter Lear: The process has been very exciting. Our city had a pool, um, that was over 60 years old and there’s been a community-wide push to open a new pool. Um, our commissioner, a couple years ago, actually took that and reinvigorated the project, made it more than just, just a pool, they also made it an aquatic facility, so it could be a recreational amenity for our community. And that’s going to be opening here, it’s, um, part of what’s called The Morgan Family Center, right across the street from our high school and next to one of our middle schools in town.
Candace Kelley: Wow. What do you like most about it so far?
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Peter Lear: Just the excitement it’s bringing to our community. Um, our, our kids will have a place to go, hang out, play, um, come on weekends during the warmer months. And, in Florida, most of our months are warmer months.
Candace Kelley: (laughs) Yes.
Peter Lear: But, it will be closed during the winter months, except for the pool will be open every day. The pool itself. But, the amenities, as far as the slides and everything, will only be open, um, during the warm months.
Candace Kelley: And your Mineral Springs area has gotten a lot of recognition.
Peter Lear: Yes, we’ve recently got added to the National Historic Register. Three of those buildings are very old. Um, the Warm Mineral Springs itself is a prehistoric, um, uh, water area. It’s also considered the original Fountain of Youth that was discovered when, um, our country was, um, explored by the Spanish.
Candace Kelley: And in terms of what it’s bringing, in terms of economic base-building jobs, what have you seen happen?
Peter Lear: So, the area surrounding Warm Mineral Springs is actually has a lot of, um, exciting areas that can be developed and we’re looking, um- some medical developers are looking to bring it there for therapeutic reasons, as well as just the whole area. It’s in a, it’s a, um, an economic driver for our area, as well as something that people can come and visit, and make it a tourist attraction.
Candace Kelley: And, as you said, basically though, we’re looking at the countdown until 2020 February. Do you know what the, the, uh, the Braves are going to do when they kick it off? What’s that celebration look like?
Peter Lear: We are still developing that with the Braves. The city and the Braves are working together. We have a meeting in very near future to discuss what that will be and we’re looking to have, like, a parade, as well as a big kick-off for the first game.
Candace Kelley: A lot of fun.
Peter Lear: Yes.
Candace Kelley: Thank you so much for giving us an update.
Peter Lear: Thank you.
Candace Kelley: Good to see you. Today’s news maker has been Peter Lear and I’m Candace Kelley. Thanks for joining us.