General Manager and logo unveiled for new ballpark of the Palm Beaches
PALM BEACH COUNTY —
Minor League Baseball veteran Brady Ballard will take the helm as General Manager of the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Work is underway to create the new complex that will be the Spring Training home for the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. It is located at the intersection of Haverhill Road and 45th Street.
Ballard was introduced publicly for the first time at an event late Friday afternoon in downtown West Palm Beach
Brady has experience working with other Minor League teams including the Daytona Cubs and Jacksonville Suns.
The new logo for Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is blue and green, featuring a diamond and row of palm trees leading into a sun.
The centerpiece of the complex will be 7,600 capacity stadium. The Nationals and Astros will each have six practice fields of their own and administration buildings.
"It's going to be an immersive experience from the moment you get out of your car," Ballard said describing the interactive nature of the stadium.
Project leaders say a major focus of the stadium is to allow fans to get up close with players.
"We want that interaction for people to get the feel of the talent level that exists at the major league level," Ballard said.
Ballpark at the Palm Beaches will host the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, not far from Roger Dean Stadium where the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals play spring games. A further north in Port St. Lucie is the spring training home for the New York Mets.
Together, this structure will provide a big draw for baseball fans and county tourism.
"It puts itself up there as a destination for Spring Training," Ballard said. "Arizona has made some waves in recent years and to have four teams, along with the St. Lucie Mets right up the road to have five teams in close proximity, with great facilities across the board, and this one being the newest, I think it's going to make it a full destination to come experience Palm Beach County, not only from a baseball side but culturally as well."
The $144 million project is being paid for with various private and public funds. It is expected to open in January of 2017.
It was made possible through a land swap deal between the City of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County.
Palm Beach County will remain owners of the land and stadium with Astros and Nationals signing on as 30-year tenants. The teams will also build a 12-acre public city park adjacent to the complex that will feature a water park, barbecue area, recreational fields and sidewalks.
The complex sits on top of a former landfill. Crews are reshifting the ground, but reusing everything they find. Using dug up concrete for new sidewalks, recycling old tires and replanting trees.
Projects managers say there will be several dozen full-time employees and hundreds employed part time. It's expected those part time positions will be filled later this year.