Sunday, June 28, 2015

Putting Derby Lane Rumors in Context

It's been five years since then-mayor Bill Foster suggested the Rays could leave Tropicana Field if they'd consider a move to Derby Lane, the dog track sitting just outside St. Pete's city limits along Gandy Blvd.

Foster saw the offer as a compromise to the team's complaints that the Trop was too remote of a location.  But his olive branch was soundly rejected by the Rays, and five years later, the stalemate continues to drag on.

This weekend, the Tampa Tribune plastered the resurgent rumors on its front page: "From racing to Rays? Dog tracks eyed as stadium sites."  The story explained how the decline of dog racing in Florida has the privately-owned Derby Lane open to a buyout. 

Derby Lane is a centrally-located piece of land that would make a much more-appealing stadium location for most Hillsborough County fans.  And, Pinellas County's existing revenue streams give it a significant leg-up on funding a stadium.

Except when I spoke to a track representative earlier this week, she confirmed nobody from the Rays, the city, nor any private developers has had even a preliminary conversation about buying the property.

It's a story my WTSP colleague, Kendra Conlon, reported on back in February.  But it appears the only thing that's changed since then... is some folks are working behind-the-scenes to drum up more talk of Derby Lane's potential.

Any chance it could be the track, rather than the Rays?

I had a good chat last week with Mayor Kriseman about stadium possibilities in St. Pete and I will post more on it later this week.

   



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2 comments:

  1. Talk of the Rays building a ballpark on Gandy is a media grab dart thrown at a big target by a St.Pete friendly blindfolded foe (or fool), good luck w/ that...

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  2. "I had a good chat last week with Mayor Kriseman about stadium possibilities in St. Pete and I will post more on it later this week."

    Well, don't keep us in suspense... Looking forward to hearing some inside scoop!

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