St. Pete starts ‘Baseball Forever' initiative to keep Rays in downtown

City unveils master redevelopment plan
Posted at 10:24 PM, Apr 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-06 09:47:37-04

The city of St. Petersburg isn’t selling the Tampa Bay Rays on a new stadium design, they want the team’s owner to buy into the future of what St. Pete can offer them.

Mayor Rick Kriseman is the Chairman of a new initiative called Baseball Forever. It is a partnership with the city, St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, residents, fans, and business leaders to keep the Rays in St. Pete.

“The Rays have been very clear, they are looking for a place that is the future of their franchise,” Kriseman said. “Give them a taste for what the future potentially holds for them with a new stadium on this location.”

The plan proposes building a new stadium near existing Tropicana field on the Northeast corner where 1st Avenue and near 10th Street.

Kriseman met with the owners of the Tampa Bay Rays before their game against the New York Yankees.

“We went in very confident,” Kriseman said. “Because the product we have, so to speak, which is that site is a really good product. You look around the Tampa Bay Area and there really aren't a whole lot of sites where you can find 86 acres of contiguous property that are publicly owned to be redeveloped.”

The Rays home opener was a sold out crowd. On Wednesday’s game, not so much. Kriseman said the city is doing their part to keep the Rays in town, fans have to do theirs.

Mayor Rick Kriseman throws out the first pitch at the Trop




“If you want this team to be here you gotta support this team, come out to the games,” Kriseman said.

The proposal for a live, work, play concept for the stadium encompasses not just restaurants, but businesses, and condos and apartments where people can leave their office or step out their front door and walk to the game.

“We want to create a stadium that for them, is active all the time, they want a facility that isn't just open during days there are baseball games,” Kriseman said.

There is no price tag for the proposed development project. Kriseman said he wanted to show the Rays what the city could offer and once they agree, he would get the taxpayers on board for what vision they want for the city.