JetBlue Park Comes in with a Roar


There is no dispute that the biggest news to hit Southwest Florida in a very long time is the opening of The Boston Red Sox spring training facility JetBlue Park. Recently Mike Shannon, the long-time commentator for the St. Louis Cardinals, was in Naples for a Pro Am golf tournament and visited the park and summed it up perfectly. He said that “On the outside it is Florida and on the inside it is Fenway”. To say that this facility is amazing is to put it mildly. At a cost of 78 million dollars it is truly a marvel. The facility seats 11,000 fans and reports are that it is sold out for the next 10 years.

While one could question whether public funds should be committed to such an endeavor there is no question that this facility sets the standard by which all others will be measured. The proximity to the Southwest Florida International Airport makes this location hard to beat. Not 10 minutes away from the terminal you can fly in and take in the game all in the same day. All reports are that this year will be one of the best in probably a decade for the tourism industry and while the majority of the credit has to be given to a rebounding in consumer confidence, due credit has to be given to JetBlue Park.

Just to the East of the ball park is the master planned development Gateway. Gateway is a mixed use community containing office and industrial sites but more importantly, residential neighborhoods with everything from two bedroom condominiums to expansive single family residences. It has been the sleeping giant until now with its location just east of I-75. I believe that all of that is destined to change. The mature oak trees that line the roads are a signature of this conservative, well established community. Single family homes range from a low of $150,000.00 to over one million. A few signatures of this community are the low HOA dues, low taxes, and low utilities. If you come to Southwest Florida make it a point to check out Gateway and by all means try to get a ticket to the hottest venue in town JetBlue Park.

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