Tampa Yankees May Be Moving to Ocala
Some Yankees may be about to invade North Central Florida, but they aren't carrying any carpet bags with them.
The Tampa Yankees are hoping to relocate to Ocala.
Last November, Ocala city officials announced the proposed project.
Now city officials are releasing several details about the project.
Including a possible site for the stadium, how much the project would cost and what needs to be approved before the Tampa Yankees become the Ocala Yankees.
"It's the new york yankees. If you had to pick a team that would be the team you would pick," said Mayor Kent Guinn.
It's been two years since Ocala Mayor Guinn suggested for the Tampa Yankees to relocate to Ocala.
"In Tampa there are a lot of other things to do with your sports entertainment dollars as opposed to here," said Mayor Guinn.
The nearest major and minor league team is about 75 miles away.
City and Yankee Global Enterprises officials said if the deal goes through, ocala will see a positive economic impact.
"Teams will come and they'll spend two three day road trips and they will have to spend to three nights in a hotel and they will be eating here. We will have coaches living here and players living here. So there is a big economic impact having the team in the market," said Anthony Bruno who is the Vice President of Yankee Global Enterprises.
The proposed site for the stadium is right off Interstate 75 near state road 200 so you can't miss it while driviing on 75.
"I want to have minor league baseball for my children to be able to share that with them as well. Pass it on to them, just like I grew up with minor league baseball," said Allison Campbell who is an Ocala resident.
Project "home run" will cost more than $50 million and will be paid for with a half cent sales tax if passed.
To build the stadium and extend nearby roads, city officials need the Marion County Commission to help. They will make their pitch November 19, 2013.
"They have to look at it, vet it, ask questions and then they have to put it on their agenda and decide whether or not they want to put it on the ballot for a March referendum," said Mayor Guinn.
"If it ultimately goes through it's because the citizens want it and are willing to support a sales tax for the next five years," said Councilman Jay Musleh.
The last time the yankees tried building a spring training facility in Ocala, voters didn't want to pay the bill.
Now some residents are already opposing the sales tax proposal for the project.
"It's going to be a hard give. You are going to build a lot. You are going to invest a lot. You are going to have to keep it up, more road maintenance, more everything and the tax dollars aren't going to be there," said Doug Shearer who is an Ocala resident.
If the deal goes through, the Yankees' Single A Minor League team will be playing in Ocala in 2016.
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