Marion Co. commissioners consider vote on proposed Yankees' stadium



Marion County commissioners are meeting Thursday to discuss whether voters should weigh in on a new baseball stadium.

The New York Yankees' minor league team wants to move out of Tampa.

Ocala leaders want to spend $53 million on a stadium that would bring the Yankees farm team to Marion County.

The Yankees organization and the Ocala City Council are sold on a plan to build a stadium for the minor league club along Interstate 75.

The project, which would be funded by taxpayer money, can't happen unless the Marion County Commission agrees to put up money for a special election, so voters can decide whether they want to pay for the stadium through an extra sales tax.

At a commission workshop, about 150 people, including many of Marion's movers and shakers, listened to the pitch.

The Yankees' bosses said moving the team out of Tampa to Ocala will make them the only game in town.

"Without the competition for other professional sports teams, like we have in Tampa, and an appropriate size stadium for minor league baseball, we believe we'll truly deliver an asset to this community," said Tony Bruno, with the New York Yankees organization.

It would cost the county at least $300,000 to hold the special election. Ocala has offered to split the cost with the county.

The vote on holding a special election would come after a public hearing, at a later date.