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Progress made with plan for ST site in Palm Beach County

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Astros received good news Monday regarding relocating their Spring Training facility to Palm Beach County, Fla., when West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio announced that the city would negotiate a possible land swap with the county for a new complex to be built.

This news pleased the Nationals. In a joint statement, the Nationals and Astros said the following: "The Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros are grateful to the City of West Palm Beach for their willingness to open negotiations with Palm Beach County to secure a spring training facility site. Certainly, Mayor Muoio's statement today sets us on a path to a successful conclusion, and we remain very optimistic."

In October, Palm Beach County gave the go-ahead to allocate $108 million from the county's hotel tax to finance the project as long as the teams could find a location for the complex within 90 days, a window which expires Jan. 21. The Astros and Nationals are looking to build a $135 million shared facility on 160 acres between Haverhill Road and Military Trail, about two miles west of I-95.

West Palm Beach wants 1.4 acres of land the county owns in downtown in exchange for the 160 acres on Haverhill.

It was reported in February that the Nationals were in talks with the Astros about sharing a Spring Training facility. Houston would like to leave Kissimmee, Fla., where it has been since 1985, after the 2016 season, while Washington would like to move its facility closer to other teams in Florida such as the Cardinals, Mets and Marlins. The Nats' lease at Space Coast Stadium in Viera expires at the end of '17.

The Nationals have played their exhibition games at Space Coast Stadium since 2005.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.
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