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By NICOLE HUTCHESON, Times Staff Writer
Published November 29, 2007
Reactions were mixed Wednesday as details of the Tampa Bay Rays' plans for a new baseball stadium and redevelopment of the Tropicana Field site emerged. Team officials say the project will bring retail and affordable housing to downtown's core. People on both sides of the bay chimed in on the plan, some optimistic, others cautious - all anxious to see more.
"There was a joke (that) you could put a pair of Bucs tickets on the windshield wiper of your car and when you came out there'd be four, but look what it's done now. A stadium and team draws you together as a community. But from a city standpoint, you have to look at what you have and what it's going to do for you and what it's going to cost you. No city has an unlimited supply of money. The trick is going to be how they can put it together and how they can afford to do it.
Dick Greco, former Tampa mayor who advocated for a Community Investment Tax to build the Raymond James Stadium.
"We are always pleased to welcome new retail merchants to the region. This will give shoppers throughout our area yet another reason to stay in Pinellas County for their shopping enjoyment. We see this as a positive development which will benefit the entire retail community, including Tyrone Square."
Tad Johnson, manager of Tyrone Square Mall on whether he's worried about competition.
"We are at the beginning of a long conversation about how both of these proposals will fit our community. I would say I'm cautiously optimistic, but I do think the Rays are sincere in wanting to bring forth the most environmentally friendly project. There are some sea grass beds out there (the Rays say they would need to fill in a small area of the waterfront to shift a section of Bayshore Drive east) and we should look carefully and do our due diligence to make sure there's as low impact in that part of the bay as possible, but we've been assured they've budgeted $4-million for mitigation and have some professional environmental consultants on hand looking at this."
Darden Rice, environmental consultant, and liaison between the Sierra Club and Rays on the plan's environmental impact.
"We'll certainly be interested in exploring what's there. It's rare that you could have that much available land in an urban setting. It's a bright big canvas to be painted, if you will. I'm sure there'll be a number of people interested in developing all or part of that and the competition will be good for the citizens of St. Petersburg. And we very much want to be part of the growth of St. Petersburg."
Craig Sher, chief executive of the Sembler Co., the developer of BayWalk, on whether the company will present a plan for redeveloping the Tropicana site.
[Last modified November 29, 2007, 00:07:30]