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Waterfront airport emerges as possible Rays ballpark site

As a committee attempts to find a home for a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark, Albert Whitted Airport emerges as a possible site.
Albert Whitted Airport, the small airport located on the St. Petersburg waterfront near Al Lang Field, is being touted by some as a potential site for a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark.

The 110-acre site sports two runways and services small private and corporate craft. It runs at a loss — the city subsidized it to the tune of $434,000 last year — and sits on landfill jutting out into the Bay. It’s a tremendously scenic airport, and it could be one of the most scenic ballpark sites in the majors.

Such talk, however, is premature. A committee charged with finding a funding and a location for a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark hasn’t even met, though committee head Jeff Lyash says he’s had a surprising number of people suggest Albert Whitted Airport as a ballpark site.

There are a host of reasons why a ballpark would never be built on the site. First, it would take a city referendum to allow the closure of the airport. Second, some powerful political interests, including St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker, are already speaking out against any changes to the airport.

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