As this blog has long contended, elected leaders have been ignoring the elephant in the room and avoiding discussions about the tax dollars needed for a stadium. But now, we have almost every St. Pete councilmember on the record saying they don't want to commit any additional tax revenues above what they're already paying for the Trop.
Of course, we've learned the "no tax" promise isn't nearly as ironclad as the team's contract with the Rays.
Nevertheless, there was a lot of attention in this morning's papers about council's believe that they can keep the Rays in St. Pete long-term.
Tampa Tribune columnist Joe Henderson writes it's a foolish belief, comes back to the "location, location, location" problem this blog first delved into back in 2009. Henderson writes:
For what it's worth, I also wrote in 2009 that North St. Pete is the most likely landing spot for a new Rays stadium because of the available financing there.For the life of me, I can’t fathom that council members are kicking around an idea to build a new stadium adjacent to the current Trop. They would then develop the property around it with other enticing stuff, like what was supposed to happen nearly 30 years ago when the Trop was just a cataract in an architect’s eye.
I want to scream when I hear that. I want to laugh. But mostly, I want these people to stop wasting time. Building anywhere near the Trop would just extend the Rays’ location problem for another 30 years.
What does Hillsborough Commissioner/stadium supporter Ken Hagan think about it?
“To seriously consider a new stadium at their current location is a recipe for disaster,” he told the Trib.
Over in the pages of the Times, Councilwoman Darden Rice was quoted as saying, "Allowing the Rays the flexibility to look within Tampa Bay is the main way we have of keeping them here beyond 2027...We have got to stop treating the Rays like our prisoner.''
And last, but not least...the Times editorial board got in another shot on St. Pete's council, mocking it for lack of leadership and hesitation to pay more than $6 million/yr for a potential new stadium.
For those of you keeping score at home, that's $180 million over 30 years on top of healthy contributions from the county, state, and presumably the Rays too.
The editorial brings up good points about one city's limited resources in funding a new stadium...but why does the editorial board never bring up the same issue to Tampa taxpayers, who have fewer available dollars to fund a stadium than their counterparts in St. Pete?
Finally, there's this baffling graf from the editorial:
Their lease to play at Tropicana Field expires in 2027, and there will come a time well before then that the team will let the lease expire rather than pay the city to leave a few years early for a new home in Tampa Bay.If the worst-case scenario is the Rays fulfilling the terms of their use agreement (not a lease) until 2027, doesn't that mean this region has another 5-10 years to figure out a new stadium?
A brief history of Times editorials on the Stadium Saga:
- 12/10/14 - It's in St. Pete's financial interest to let the Rays go to Tampa
- 11/7/14 - St. Pete should amend contract b/c Rays lost their manager, GM
- 10/3/14 - Cheers, Warning on Hillsborough Negotiations
- 6/30/14 - Save Pinellas Tax Money for New Stadium
- 4/2/14 - What Steps Will Kriseman Take on Rays?
- 3/31/14 - Hurry Up! Only 14 More Years to Solve Stadium Stalemate!
- 1/1/14 - Kriseman Should Solve Stadium Stalemate Within "Months"
- 12/1/13 - Message to Kriseman: no time to waste
- 11/12/13 - New mayor will bring an open mind to the negotiations
- 11/6/13 - New mayor should renew discussions with Rays
- And a bevy of Bill-Foster bashing too: Oct. 2013 | Sept. 2013 | Sept. 2013 | Feb 2013 | Feb 2013 | Jan 2013 | Jan 2013 | Oct 2012 | April 2012