by Jacki Mick
At a cost of roughly $30 million, Rollin College's Alfond Stadium may soon be home to a minor league baseball team. The approval of the stadium renovations by the city commisioners on Monday brought the city one step closer to giving the Brevard County Manatees a permanent home in Winter Park. All that stands in the way of the city's baseball dream is approval from Orange County commissioners.
Plans call for the current stadium to be completely demolished with a new stadium being built on the same spot, complete with a parking garage. 20 percent of the funding for the renovations will come from the City of Winter Park and Orange County, while the remainder will be put up by Rollins College. According to Winter Park mayor Ken Bradley, it's estimated that the stadium will impact the local economy with about $60 million over 10 years. (Although we tend to think that the estimated economic impact of stadiums needs to be taken with a grain of salt – the impact is usually inflated by boosters eager to see them built. For reference, see our August 2013 piece "Stadiums. Don't. Work.")
Despite having to share the stadium, Rollins' baseball coach, Joe Bellini is enthusiastic about the prospect. He told WFTV, "The facilities would be a sale in a recruiting standpoint and tremendous for the kids already playing."
The Manatees, a single-A club that feeds into the Milwaukee Brewers, have been housed at Brevard County's Space Coast Stadium since 1994.