With a new season underway, St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman is taking the opportunity to tout his city as a long-term home for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Before delivering the ceremonial first pitch at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, Kriseman made a public presentation of the city’s ballpark proposal. The proposal would keep the Rays in St. Petersburg at a new ballpark that is constructed near Tropicana Field, with the team’s current ballpark and the surrounding area being redeveloped.
This is one of the concepts that has surfaced in the Rays’ search for a new ballpark, and the team is currently evaluating options in Pinellas County as well as neighboring Hillsborough County. The report presented by Kriseman and Baseball Forever touts several benefits of remaining in St. Petersburg, including the potential for spin-off development surrounding the new ballpark, accessibility to the site from the surrounding area, and population growth within the city since the beginning of the decade.
However, the presentation did not offer many details on how the project would be funded. More from The Tampa Bay Times:
But the report lacked any financial details on how Kriseman plans to entice the team to stay. The mayor has said he doesn’t want to negotiate publicly by specifying how the city might pay its share of the cost for the new ballpark, estimated to cost at least $600 million. He stressed that time will come once the team commits to the Sunshine City.
“We have more pots of money available to us in St. Petersburg,” Kriseman said, referring to his rival Rays’ suitors across the bay, Tampa and Hillsborough County.
“We are thankful for Mayor Kriseman’s leadership and vision for the City of St. Petersburg,” said Rays spokeswoman Rafaela Amador in a prepared statement. “We appreciate the time and dedication that he, the City, the St. Petersburg Chamber and Baseball Forever have committed to this effort.”
The report was a culmination of a year’s work from the city’s Baseball Forever campaign, a joint effort of Kriseman’s administration and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. City officials presented their report to the Rays earlier Wednesday at the Trop and the mayor described their meeting as “very positive.” He said team officials seemed surprised the report contained so much data aimed at meeting the team’s requirements.
As noted, the Rays can search for options in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. An agreement between the Rays and St. Petersburg allows the team to consider sites outside of the city until January 2019.
RELATED STORIES: St. Petersburg Believes it Could Help Fund Rays Ballpark; Stuart Sternberg: Rays Still Considering Ballpark Sites; Rays Consider Tech Features for Future Ballpark; Sternberg: Progress Being Made on New Rays Ballpark Search; Rick Kriseman Meets with Rob Manfred on Rays Ballpark; Hillsborough, Pinellas Continue Rays Ballpark Pitches; Best of 2016: #8, Rays Continue Ballpark Search; Manfred Discusses Rays Ballpark Search; Rays Connected to Montreal Move; Hillsborough County Mulls Funding of Rays Ballpark; Hillsborough County Pushing for Rays; Oldsmar Proposes Rays Ballpark; HKS Tweaks Plan for Tropicana Field Site; Oldsmar Making Push for Rays; Hillsborough Nearing High Tourism Impact Status; Ballpark Pitched for Tropicana Field Site; Is it Time to Start Eliminating Potential Rays Ballpark Sites?; Separating Wheat From Chaff in Tampa Bay Ballpark Search; Pinellas County Expanding Rays Ballpark Search; Pinellas County Throws 10 Sites into Rays Ballpark Mix; Rays: Single-Deck Ballpark, Non-Traditional Seating Possible; Rays, Politicos Discuss Nine Potential Ballpark Sites; Tampa Bay Rays: We want urban ballpark; Talking new Rays ballpark: roof, tech and more; Tampa mayor pitches downtown Rays ballpark; St. Pete to allow Rays to search in region for new ballpark site;St. Pete: Rays could leave by 2020 for $33 million; Sternberg: Rays still believe in Tampa Bay;Sternberg: Rays ballpark search will proceed;Rays, St. Pete continue ballpark relocation talks;Most county-board candidates indicate support for new Rays ballpark in Tampa; Time running out on key Rays funding component; New year, new day for new Rays ballpark?; Foster: MLB looking for reason to flee Tampa Bay; Residents: Let Rays buy out Trop lease, move to Tampa;Selig: No updates on Rays ballpark situation; Rays: We won’t buy out Trop lease on St. Pete’s terms; St. Pete mayor: Talks with Rays going poorly;Poll: little support for public funding of new Rays ballpark