Proposed location for new Rays ballpark could impact both fans and residents

Ybor City spot one of several being considered
Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 21:43:10-04

We now know where Hillsborough County wants to put a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium: Ybor City just north of Adamo Drive between Channelside Drive and N. 15th street and E. 4th Avenue.

The potential spot, which is still just one of several being considered by the baseball team, could have an impact not only on Rays fans, but anyone who lives in the Tampa Bay Area.

"A little worried about the traffic," admits Tony O'Neal who works in Ybor City.

O'Neal says he'd love to be able to leave work and just walk to a game, but believes parking and traffic would need to be addressed for the stadium to thrive in the area.

"I'd love to see a rail system, a light transit rail system that is bigger, better," says O'Neal who works in the freight logistics business. "The street car I think should be developed better too," he adds.

The mayor of Tampa agrees.

"You've got garages in Ybor City that are not necessarily used every night. You've got garages in downtown [Tampa] that are definitely not used every night. The key will be to provide the linkages whether its a trolley or whatever to connect those garages to the stadium," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn tells ABC Action News.

Buckhorn says he likes the proposed spot, but still has questions about how it will be funded.

"That's going to be the $800 million dollar question," says Buckhorn. "The Rays ownership is going to have to come to the table very significant dollars to offset what potentially will be an $800 million dollar stadium."

With the City of Tampa having just decided to increase property tax rates for the first time in 29 years, Buckhorn wants to avoid having a repeat of what happened with Raymond James Stadium, which is a fully taxpayer funded stadium that the Tampa Bay Buccanneers lease to play in.

"From a taxpayer perspective that was probably the worst deal that's ever been done because the tax payers paid for that entire facility," says Buckhorn to ABC. "We can't burden the next mayor, the next four mayors, the next two generations with a debt that we can't pay."

Hillsborough County isn't yet saying how the new stadium will be paid for.