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Chamber to take up Rays ballpark cause

Tampa Bay RaysThe Tampa Chamber of Commerce is grabbing a larger role in the debate over a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark, launching a study to determine possible private funding of a ballpark but steering clear of specific locations.

The avoidance of locations is being done with the hopes of including St. Petersburg and Pinellas County in the discussions. That’s a tough sell: St. Petersburg officials have been understandably protective of their relationship with the Rays and, while showing signs they’d be flexible about a new ballpark, they don’t want to let the Rays leave The Trop with bonds left to be paid off.

We’re not entirely sure the group is off to an auspicious start, though. For starters: they are already talking about abandoning a retractable roof and instead going with a fixed roof, dooming the Rays to 30 or 40 more years of indoor baseball.

RELATED STORIES: Pinellas County extends hotel tax — but not enough for new Rays ballpark; Selig still “concerned” about Rays ballpark situation; Pinellas County mulls hotel-tax extension for new Rays ballpark; Rays: No, we’re not interested in limiting ballpark search to St. Pete ; Can Tampa Bay support MLB?; St. Pete officials now say Trop is replaceable — at a price; Potential new player emerges in Rays ballpark battle; Rays: Time to talk new ballpark again; Rays ballpark brawl: Tampa versus St. Pete; Three Rays ballpark sites recommended by committee; New Rays ballpark discussion shifts to Tampa; Group: Any new Rays ballpark needs retractable roof; Group: Renovating Trop isn’t option in keeping Rays; Rays task force may have prelim recommendations by June — but no site; Rays propose Carillon Town Center site for ballpark

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