HERALD TRIBUNE WRITES: Sarasota County to use $16.5 Million of tourism money to fix Ed Smith baseball stadium despite business community outcry. The Sarasota County Commission on Tuesday decided to shift money from the tourism promotions budget to pay for repairs on the deteriorating Ed Smith Stadium, despite pleas from local merchants devastated by toxic red tide who claim the marketing money is vital to keeping their businesses alive.A unanimous commission voted to move promotions funds generated by the tourist development tax away from marketing the county to help cover repair costs to the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles, which will need $16.5 million in fixes over the next 10 years. The work includes renovations of two fields, a new irrigation system, lightning protection, defective resin flooring repairs, fencing, roof replacement and parking lot repairs. The county and the Baltimore Orioles each contribute $150,000 annually to a capital expense fund, but those contributions won’t cover the repairs. According to the county’s memorandum of understanding with the Orioles, it is responsible for anything the fund cannot cover, parks officials have said.
The Orioles’ estimated economic impact in the county is $97 million. “You don’t want your county beginning to breach contractual obligations on major repairs. This isn’t more lighting or more fancy flags along the rim. Part of the building is sinking,” Commissioner Al Maio said, adding he is sympathetic to the plight of local business owners. Before the commission rendered its decision, business owners begged the board to find another way to fund the repairs. A teary-eyed Paul Parr, operator of 12 vacation rentals on Siesta Key, told commissioners he rented only two units during the month of September, adding that his business is on the brink of collapse because it was hit so hard by red tide. “My situation is desperate. I’m about to go out of business,” Parr said, stressing the importance of area promotions. “I’m about to lose my investment.
County Commissioner Charles Hines, who chairs the council, explained that the MMA resin flooring in Ed Smith stadium was defective. He and his colleagues felt the county needed to go ahead and replace it in December 2017 and January 2018, he added, even though the county has continued to seek a resolution of the issue with the construction manager Gilbane that handled stadium renovations for the Orioles, they sued Gilbane in November 2016.
“We don’t want you to think that … we’re not seeking to get [the money] back, $1,079,243.00 ,” he told the council members. Delaying the installation to after Spring Training 2018 would require the additional cost of temporary and unsightly repairs to make the surfaces that are failing safe for the baseball fans. So they went ahead and replaced all the resin flooring, “approximately 39,687 square feet of exterior floor topping materials on the 1st floor and 2nd floor concourse at Ed Smith Stadium.” see http://sarasotanewsleader.com/contractor-at-work-to-replace-defective-flooring-at-ed-smith-stadium-before-orioles-begin-spring-training/
"The county’s Procurement Department had approved what is called a “single-source request” NO BID CONTRACT on Aug. 10, 2017 the memo added. The form explaining that process said, “With a deadline for completing a major portion of the work before Spring Training in 2018, there is not time to allow multiple vendors to provide test patches and prove their products, systems and methods are successful. … Delaying the installation to after Spring Training 2018 would require the additional cost of temporary and unsightly repairs to make the surfaces that are failing safe,” the form added. The money for the work was to come out of a TDT fund set aside for capital projects and events, the memo noted." see http://sarasotanewsleader.com/contractor-at-work-to-replace-defective-flooring-at-ed-smith-stadium-before-orioles-begin-spring-training/
Bill Warner firstname.lastname@example.org Bill Warner Private Investigator Sarasota 941-926-1926 - SEX, CRIME, CHEATERS & TERRORISM at www.wbipi.com