Debate over new stadium heats up - FOX 13 News

Debate over new stadium heats up


Tropicana Field and downtown St. Petersburg took some hits Thursday on the topic of where to build a new stadium.

The spokesman for a citizens group that studied that very question pulled no punches.

Craig Sher represents the ABC, a coalition of business and community leaders that studied the need for a new location.

"I think it's time, quite frankly, for the Rays and the city to get together. I think the Rays need to come out and tell the world what they want to do. And I think they're thinking about doing that," Sher said.

Sher made the comment after presenting his group's findings to St. Petersburg's Tiger Bay Club.

He pulled no punches in explaining Tropicana Field's shortcomings.

"Clearly, Tropicana Field was almost outdated the day it was built. I hate to say that," Sher said, adding the 1980s vintage building is not worth renovating.

He also repeated the ABC's belief that mid-Pinellas or Tampa would be better locations for the next stadium.

Former St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker created the ABC after the Rays proposed a politically ill-fated stadium on downtown St. Petersburg's waterfront. Baker withdrew city hall's support after the group started looking at sites outside St. Petersburg.

Current mayor Bill Foster says he is waiting for the Rays to formally initiate discussions of a new stadium. Michael Kalt, the Rays' vice president for development, said that would be premature.

"Frankly, we don't see a need until ABC has had a chance to go around, voice their opinion and let people digest a little bit what they're saying, and that's going to take some time," Kalt said.

Mayor Foster said he's waiting to talk to the rays about a new stadium, but so far, team owners have not asked for such a meeting.

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