Space Coast Tourism Leaders Enjoy Nationals Spring Training

By  //  March 17, 2013

Major League Baseball In Brevard

Tom Williamson, TDC chairman and manager of Hampton Inn and Courtyard By Marriott in Cocoa Beach, enjoys the Nationals vs. Astros game with his wife Diane.

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BREVARD COUNTY• VIERA, FLORIDA —  The Space Coast Office of Tourism hosted a reception for local community, political and media leaders at Space Coast Stadium during yesterday evening’s Washington Nationals vs. Houston Astros game.

Brevard County Board of Commissioners Chairman Andy Anderson and his wife Sabrina. Earlier in the day, Commissioner Anderson was among more than 400 people who shaved their heads to support the third annual St. Baldrick’s fundraiser for childhood cancer research held at The Avenue Viera.  ( image)

“The Space Coast is proud to have the Washington Nationals call Brevard home for their spring training, and we look forward to having one of Major League Baseball’s best clubs – the Nationals – here for many years to come,” said Brevard County Commissioner Andy Anderson, who has led the campaign to keep the Nationals in Brevard.

Anderson recently traveled to Washington D.C to meet with the Nat’s management to ensure maximum communication and learn of the things that they feel are important in keeping the club in Brevard.

“We are working hard to find ways to make them feel at home and happy,” said Anderson.

Also in attendance to show support were Brevard County Commissioner Chuck Nelson, special projects coordinator for Commissioner Anderson, Kristy Grimes, and hotelier and tourism leader Bob Baugher.

Members Appointed Per Florida Statute

The Brevard County Tourism Development Council (TDC) was established to promote growth, development and quality of tourism on the Space Coast.

Space Coast Office of Tourism management, left to right, include Deidre Jackson, Bonnie King and Nola Copeland. ( image)

The TDC encourages participation by both visitors and residents in tourism related activities, and acts as the primary body to determine direction, goals and policy for use of the tourism tax.

The TDC consists of nine members appointed by the county commission, and according to a formula established in the Florida Statutes. One member is the Brevard County Commission Chair or his/her designee; two represent municipal governments in the county; three represent businesses who collect bed tax; and the remaining three represent tourism-related entities that do not collect a bed tax.

The TDC is funded by a five percent Tourist Development Tax levied on accommodations in hotels, motels, or temporary living quarters, and any rental or lease of six months or less. The five percent Tourism Tax is then allocated into specific tourist-related expenditure categories as determined by Brevard County ordinances.

‘We Love Our Baseball Here In Brevard!’

Central Florida News 13’s Greg Pallone and his wife Katie attended to show their support. “This is a great community, and its wonderful to have the Nats here in Brevard,” said Pallone.

Katie and Greg Pallone, left, with Tom and Anna Palermo. ( image)

Media leader Tom Palermo of Maverick Multimedia, also voiced his support. “This is one of the greatest things about Brevard – being able to come out to the stadium to watch spring training,” said Palermo. “It’s been a 50-year tradition including when the old Colt .45’s (now the Houston Astros) got here in 1962, and that’s the way we need to keep it.”

AAU Vice President, and President of Space Coast Sports Promotions, Rusty Buchanan, left, with Kalina Subido of the Space Coast Office of Tourism. ( image)

Among those in attendance were current tourism council members Tim Deratany and Jim Ridenour, former TDC Council Chairman Giles Malone and Space Coast Sports Promotion’s Rusty Buchanan, Connie Alden and Matt Yurish.

Tourism Office management team members  Bonnie King, Kalina Subido, Nola Copeland and Deidre Jackson were on hand and did their usual excellent job in organizing the gathering.

“Its great to be here at Space Coast Stadium to be able to take in a game and see world-class athletes in action from the Nationals,” said Buchanan, who was recently elected First Vice President of the Amateur Athletic Union. “We love our baseball here in Brevard!”

Best Record In Baseball

Demand has been high in Viera for tickets for this year’s Nationals spring training games, the team’s ninth here on the Space Coast. The Nationals won the National League East division last season – and also had the best record in Major League Baseball at 98-64, and played the St. Louis Cardinals in the Divisional Series.

Brevard County entrepreneur, and Space Coast Office of Tourism official, Bob Baugher, left, with Giles and Alison Malone.

The Nationals’ agreement with Brevard County continues until 2017, and if the Nationals were to leave Brevard County before that date, then they would be obigated to reimburse the county for any remaining bond payments on the stadium until another team takes over the stadium, according to the contract.

Brevard County pays approximately $765,000 a year in bond payments, but the final payment will be made this spring, so the potential penalty payments for leaving prior to 2017 would be minimal.

In 2012 the Nats entered into talks to move their spring operations to City of Palms Park in Lee County, but a possible lack of funds for ballpark upgrades there are an issue.

“Major League Baseball is a great asset for Brevard County, and the Washington Nationals are working hard to be the best,” said Palermo.