The Tampa Stadium Authority, involved in both Raymond James Stadium and St. Pete Times Forum, is declining once again to be a part of any Tampa Bay Rays ballpark planning — for now.
The reason: any overt discussions of a new ballpark could be seen as tampering with the Rays’ current lease at Tropicana Field with St. Petersburg, and authority leaders would prefer to avoid any legal entanglements.
Instead, the decision was made at yesterday’s meeting to participate in ballpark talks only if asked. We’re not entirely sure anyone will be asking: undoubtedly the Rays will want to manage any new ballpark on their own, and the only real role the authority could play is being part of any bond sale should things progress that far. We’re probably talking about 2012 for that at the earliest: the Tampa Chamber of Commerce is expected to spend most of 2011 examining options for a new ballpark somewhere in the greater Tampa Bay area that includes a heavy dose of private funding.
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