tampabay.com

Share your ideas on Rays' plans

A meeting Wednesday will focus on the future of Tropicana Field.

By AARON SHAROCKMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published January 7, 2008


ST. PETERSBURG - The public will get its first chance this week to weigh in on the Tampa Bay Rays' ambitious proposal to redevelop Tropicana Field and build a new baseball stadium on the downtown waterfront.

City and team officials have scheduled a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Tropicana Field to discuss the potential Tropicana redevelopment. Here's what you need to know before you arrive.

The specifics: The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Enter Tropicana Field through "Gate 1" or the main rotunda via Third Avenue South. City officials say the public meeting is tentatively scheduled to last until 9 p.m.

Reservations, please: City officials are requesting that people RSVP by today if they plan to attend. The phone number to call is 727 893-7100. Attendees can also send e-mails to business@stpete.org Organizers are expecting 100 to 200 people but said they will not turn anyone away, whether they RSVP or not.

What's going to happen: The city and the Rays will make short presentations. Then attendees will break into groups to discuss the potential redevelopment of Tropicana Field. Each group will develop a list of ideas for the redevelopment. The groups will share their results with the rest of the audience.

No stadium discussion: City officials say they will steer the discussion away from the proposed stadium at Al Lang Field, though it likely will come up. This meeting, they say, is designed solely to provide input on the possible redevelopment of Tropicana Field.

Results sent to potential developers: The city is considering whether to issue a "request for proposals" to developers nationwide for the 86-acre Tropicana site. If the city decides to move forward, officials say they intend to transmit the results of the public meeting to potential Tropicana developers as well.

If you can't make it: Results of the meeting will be made available by the city.

What's next: Based in part on Wednesday's discussion, the City Council will decide Jan. 17 whether to ask developers for redevelopment scenarios for Tropicana Field. However, council members have said that they will not finalize any plan unless voters approve plans for a new stadium in a referendum scheduled for November.