Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tampa Councilmembers Renounce Stadium Rumors

Tampa's city council discussed this morning what to do with $100-$150 million in possible funding after its convention center bonds are paid off in 2015.  And as Richard Danielson reports {link to Times' site}, a lot of hands were held out...except the Rays':
"There's been a lot of speculation about those available funds," Yvonne Yolie Capin said, noting that she's getting media inquiries about the "Rays baseball money." "The perception that it is designated is out there."
Representatives of the Tampa Theatre, Tampa Museum of Art and David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts noted to the council that they operate out of city-owned buildings. They said they could use the city's help as they make repairs and updates to their facilities.
Oh, and a school board member was there too!
Hillsborough School Board member Candy Olson urged council members not to put off repairs to buildings owned by the public. The School District hasn't always maintained its buildings as well as it should, she said, and it learned some hard lessons.

"It wasn't pretty," she said. "It was very disruptive and it was much more costly than it needed to be."

In response, one of Buckhorn's top aides told the council that it's not like these groups don't get any money from the city...over the last 10 years, the city has provided about $32 million in financial support to the Straz Center, said Bob McDonaugh, Buckhorn's economic opportunity administrator.
While a possible baseball stadium was barely mentioned during the workshop, it was clear several members (as previously reported here) are lining up against the idea:
"Not one dime," Frank Reddick said earlier this week. Taxpayers, he suggested, are leery about their money going to facilities that benefit rich sports team owners.
And don't forget, the county may want to claim its half of that available general revenue back once the convention center is paid off.

Nothing was decided today, and we can expect many more months of debate.  Actually, years, but "months" works better with alliteration.

Regardless, quote of the day comes from longtime councilman Charlie Miranda.

"Council has never been talking about a stadium," Miranda said.  "We've never talked to no mayor in St. Petersburg about a stadium; we never talked to an owner of a baseball team across the bay about a stadium; we haven't done anything. So all this is rumor and speculation that has been created in an era of 'whoa, whoa, what's happening here?'  Forget about what happened somewhere else, worry about your own house."

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