New Rays stadium in Gateway area? - FOX 13 News

New Rays stadium in Gateway area?

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Are Tropicana Field's days numbered? Are Tropicana Field's days numbered?

There's a new player in the stadium showdown to find a new home for the Tampa Bay Rays. A private company with money to contribute has a full set of plans drawn up, ready to show the region.

In a letter to the St. Petersburg Mayor's office, it is asking to make a presentation to resolve the stadium impasse. A few people have already seen the plans.

"It was a ‘wow' when I saw it. I'll leave it at that," said Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.

The presentation includes a full set of drawings of a new stadium proposed for the Gateway area of St. Petersburg, somewhere near Ulmerton Road and Roosevelt.

"A modern stadium in an urban environment, in a mixed use setting that's accessible to all parts of Tampa Bay," Welch described. "The drive time is exceptional from Tampa, Orlando, Pinellas even Manatee."

The company, St. Petersburg-based Echelon, is doing business as Cityscape LLC. It requested a substantial block of time to present the city with its research that includes stadium design, demographics and traffic analysis. They say it's all completed and ready to share.

"They know the area. They know the development and they know how to make things work in
this community," Welch said.

Playing ball in a new stadium requires transit connections and support from the Greater Tampa Bay area.

"Certainly to have a private group come together with what is a well-thought out and detailed
concept plan for a new ball park is very exciting. It starts the conversation," Welch said.

Fans at the Rays vs. Blue Jays game on Wednesday were already talking.

"I think it's a great idea. I think it should move over to Tampa so it's more centrally located," said Amanda Thomas.

Replacing the Trop with a new, shiny stadium closer to Tampa won't matter to all the fans.

"I'm not one of the people who believes the stadium moves and then thousands of people start going if it's closer. If you are a baseball fan, you make the drive," said James Steinalge.

But what do the Rays have to say?

The PR department released a statement saying over the years, the team has heard about many developers. They say the team's position remains the same: they'll consider any site in Tampa Bay, but only as part of the process.

Here is the text of the Rays' response:

"Over the years, we've heard and read about many developers who would like to include a baseball stadium in their plans. Our position remains the same-we will consider any potential ballpark site in Tampa Bay, but only as part of a process that considers every ballpark site in Tampa Bay."


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