The Legislature has agreed to fund $15 million for the remediation of the former Toytown landfill site in Pinellas County in order to build a youth sports facility on the grounds.
The project was detailed in appropriation requests filed by Sen. Ed Hooper and Rep. Nick DiCiglie, and another win for House Speaker Chris Sprowls, who’s home district is based in Pinellas County. Although the original request only asked for $10 million, the project was able to secure even more at $15 million.
Toytown is a 240-acre historic landfill in the center of the county. With the nonrecurring state funding, the site will undergo environmental remediation, and, once complete, will become home to a youth sports complex.
The Toytown landfill opened in the early 1960s, where it served as St. Pete’s main trash dump until the 1980s. The county now owns the site.
Despite the Toytown lot being in a prime location — situated in north St. Petersburg near I-75 and the Howard Frankland bridge — the site has struggled over the years to sell to a developer, with several deals falling through in the last decade. Why? The former landfill has roughly 25 years of buried garbage beneath its surface, as thick as 60 feet in some areas, emitting methane gas and making for an unstable building surface.
But, with the state funding, the site could be of use again.
Now the county plans to go digging to find out how much it would cost to unearth and remove much of the trash to make the site more valuable and buildable for a mixed-used development, corporate headquarters or even a baseball stadium.
The budget represents the consensus between the House and the Senate for the state’s financial priorities. Individual spending items are still subject to the Governor’s veto pen, however.
Last year Gov. Ron DeSantis was thought to have wielded a relatively light touch when he slashed $1.5 billion out of the $100 billion budget.