Orioles confirm Naples plan

March 26, 1991|By Jennifer Lenhart | Jennifer Lenhart,Special to The Sun

NAPLES, Fla. -- It's not a done deal yet, but Baltimore Orioles officials spoke officially and optimistically yesterday about plans for a spring-training complex.

Orioles officials, confirming reports that leaked out Saturday, said they had agreed in principle to join with Florida Rock Industries Inc. in a deal to move the team to a new complex in Naples.

Florida Rock will provide the land -- 310 acres, of which about 85 will be used to build a 6,000- to 7,000-seat stadium and five or six practice fields for the Orioles.

Collier County, where Naples is located, will pay for construction of the $15 million to $18 million Orioles headquarters with money from a 3 percent tourist tax passed last September. The complex could be open by spring 1993, Orioles officials have estimated.

The Orioles train at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota, which has practice fields but no stadium. The Orioles play virtually all their Grapefruit League games as the visiting team.

The planned stadium in Naples will be on a 1,000-acre site owned by Florida Rock. An asphalt plant also will begin operating there in the coming months.

Tom Daffron, senior vice president of the Orioles, said the plant wouldn't pose a problem for the team because it is "somewhat removed from the stadium area itself."

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