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Oldsmar Making Push for Rays

Tampa Bay Rays

Oldsmar is vying to construct a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark, with mayor Doug Bevis making a case for the project. 

On October 27, Bevis will present a preliminary concept for a ballpark in the city, which is located in Pinellas County. Bevis is building Oldmar’s case around its proximity and land availability. The city is just west of the Pinellas County/Hillsborough County line, and the proposed ballpark could be constructed on 120 acres of land west of Tampa Bay Downs. More from the Tampa Bay Times:

Bevis plans to unveil a conceptual masterplan with renderings of a new ballpark at a media event next week, on Oct. 27. Bevis will be joined by Francisco Semsch, President of FSA Architecture/Construction.

The presentation will detail why city officials think Oldsmar is the right location. That includes regional connectivity, available land, development readiness and financial feasibility, according to a news release.

Among the information that will be presented are numbers showing the income and population density within 30 miles of the proposed new site.

A few other details that have been discussed in the past include the funding model, which may wind up calling for a joint agreement between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. Such a move is not unprecedented among major league facilities–Milwaukee’s Miller Park, for instance, received funding from a sales tax that was applied to five counties–but Hillsborough and Pinellas have pursued separate projects thus far.

Additionally, there is the question of how Oldsmar’s proximity will come into play. While it is accessible from both counties, it is also located a good distance north of both downtown St. Petersburg and downtown Tampa. Tropicana Field is about 27 miles south of Tampa Bay Downs, and downtown Tampa is estimated to be at least 16 miles from the racetrack.

Pinellas County officials, however, mentioned Oldsmar as a potential ballpark site during a meeting in July. Of the sites that were presented during that discussion, Oldsmar was located the furthest north.

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