THE CITY OF Clearwater is expected to approve, at a City Council meeting tonight, a $2.9 million renovation to the Phillies' spring training complex.
The upgrade would include a 20,000-square foot training center at the Carpenter Complex, with six air-conditioned batting cages, a weightroom, office space and a video room, and new batting cages at Bright House Field, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
The plan calls for the Phillies to repay roughly $900,000 over the remaining 12 years of its contract with the city by giving 60 cents on each spring training ticket. That would be an estimated $75,000 per year.
"For the past 65 years, the Phillies have been proud to call Clearwater our spring training home," Phillies president David Montgomery said in a statement. "The city of Clearwater has been a wonderful partner, and this latest enhancement to Carpenter Complex, further demonstrates our incredible relationship."
Construction, managed by the Phillies, would begin in May and be ready for use by spring training in 2013.
The arrangement does not include a guarantee that the Phillies will remain in Clearwater beyond its current deal. The team has held spring training there since 1967.
The team pays $200,000 a year to lease the Carpenter Complex, which is owned by the city. According to the Times, the city has spent $3.2 million in recent years in other upgrades to the complex.
"I guess it's a question of whether you want to be in the Major League Baseball business or not," mayor Frank Hibbard told the newspaper. "We want to keep baseball here."