NEW YORK -- On the same day they released their 2017 Spring Training schedule, the Mets also extended their stay in Port St. Lucie, Fla., for another quarter-century.The St. Lucie County Commissioners announced Tuesday that they unanimously approved an agreement with the Mets to provide $55 million in new construction
NEW YORK -- On the same day they released their 2017 Spring Training schedule, the Mets also extended their stay in Port St. Lucie, Fla., for another quarter-century.
The St. Lucie County Commissioners announced Tuesday that they unanimously approved an agreement with the Mets to provide $55 million in new construction and renovations to Tradition Field, the franchise's Spring Training home since 1988. The Mets will pay for 35 percent of the improvements, while St. Lucie County and the state of Florida will pick up the rest.
As part of the agreement, the Mets committed to stay in St. Lucie for another 25 years.
"We are excited about the modernization of the facility which will significantly improve the fan experience," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement. "St. Lucie County will remain a destination for hundreds of thousands of Mets fans for years to come."
• Spring Training schedule
Proposed improvements to Tradition Field include a new entrance, a walkway connector around the outfield, a new practice field, a players' academy for the Mets, a Little League/softball complex for public tournaments and new Major and Minor League clubhouses, offices and locker rooms. Construction could begin as early as the spring of 2017.
"St. Lucie County has had an excellent working relationship with the Mets since they agreed to come to Port St. Lucie in 1988," St. Lucie County Administrator Howard Tipton said in a statement. "And this new agreement not only strengthens that partnership to keep them here another 25 years, but also provides some additional exposure for our county to our No. 1 tourism market."
Port St. Lucie has become a more desirable place for the Mets to train in recent years, with the Nationals and Astros moving to a new facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., this spring, thereby doubling the number of clubs within a one-hour drive of Tradition Field. The Mets will play 12 of their 35 Spring Training games next year against those two clubs, and another 13 against the nearby Cardinals and Marlins.
The Mets will begin their 2017 Grapefruit League schedule with a Feb. 24 away game against the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla. Their first home game is the following day against the Nationals at Tradition Field.
All told, the Mets will end Grapefruit League action on March 29 against the Braves. Opening Day is on April 3 against the Braves at Citi Field.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.