"It's Time for the Rays to Choose Tampa or St. Pete"
The Tampa Bay Rays have been playing in St. Petersburg since 1998. The team has been looking for a new stadium for several years, and the two frontrunners have been them and St. Petersburg.
Castor said that both the team and St. Petersburg have made "tremendous offers" to the Rays, but she believes that they are the better choice for the team. She pointed to the location of Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, which is not close to any major highways, as one of the negatives about the St. Petersburg site. Therefore, the Rays have until May to decide which city they will play in, and she is hopeful that they will choose the team.
However, the team's lease at Tropicana Field expires after the 2027 season, and the Rays have expressed interest in joining them. On March 22nd, the Mayor Jane Castor said, "It's time for the Rays to choose Tampa or St. Pete."
Mayor Castor's said this after the Rays, and St. Petersburg officials have been unable to agree on a new stadium deal. The Rays have proposed building a new stadium in the team's Ybor City neighborhood, but the city of St. Petersburg has refused to sell the team the land needed for the project.
Mayor Castor believes that it is time for the Rays to decide their future. "The Tampa Bay region deserves clarity on what the future holds for Major League Baseball," she said. "It is time for decisions to be made."
Mayor Castor's comments come after the Rays released a study conducted by engineering firm AECOM that found it feasible for the team to build a new stadium in Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood. The study found that a new stadium in Ybor City could cost between $89 million and $130 million and require between eight and ten acres of land. The Rays have not made any decisions about their future, but Mayor Castor is hopeful that they will choose to stay in Tampa.
"We believe the team is the best place for the Rays, and we are committed to working with the team to make that happen," she said. "It offers the best combination of location, demographics, transportation infrastructure, and quality of life."
Mayor castor has a point. The rays have been playing in st. Petersburg since 1998, but their lease at Tropicana Field expires after the 2027 season. The rays have proposed building a new stadium in the city, but the city of st. Petersburg has refused to sell the team the land needed for the project.