St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Tuesday morning the city is rejecting the latest proposal from the Tampa Bay Rays for a new stadium on the Tropicana Field site.
At a press conference Tuesday about plans to redevelop the Trop site, the Mayor said the Rays requested 36 acres east of Booker Creek. The catch — the land would be under the sole control of the baseball team, and development revenue would be reserved exclusively for them.
“While the Rays have been a wonderful community partner and through their foundation, have done so many things to benefit this community, without the city’s ownership and control of the development, I cannot guarantee that the wishes of the city and the community can occur on that portion of the property,” Kriseman said.
Kriseman, caught between the community and the baseball team, said the request takes control away from the city, and thus away from the community, which would harm the project that is centered around honoring the site’s history and the Black community’s losses from its initial development.
“The moment the city turns complete and total control over the 36 acres to the Rays, the city loses all ability and authority to ensure that the community’s voice is heard, that the history of the site and the unkept promises are fulfilled,” Kriseman said.
Without the land carve out, the Rays cannot guarantee a new stadium, which could imperil the future of Major League Baseball in St. Pete.
The Mayor also announced the city will be releasing seven development proposals on the historic Trop site.
The proposals are set to be released Tuesday at 4 p.m. There will be a comment section on the webpage so that residents can give feedback on each of the proposals.
Once the Mayor reviews all the comments that have come in through the web page, he will create a shortlist of the proposals, and from there, the city will go through another process of narrowing down contenders.
The city will cross-examine the proposals with 26 professionals, looking at the development from aspects of sustainability, health, public policy, economic development, job creation and equity.
“When you see these submissions, I think you’ll quickly realize that the future has never been brighter here,” Kriseman said.
Amid the press conference Tuesday, a lone protestor continued to express concern over the site’s potential unmarked graves, speculated to be beneath the Tropicana parking lot.
Kriseman said the city is working with a team of archeologists, which will examine the site before anything substantial moves forward.