ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s been one month since the Tampa Bay Rays announced plans for a new stadium to replace Tropicana Field.
On Thursday, team leaders and developers worked to get St. Petersburg City Council on base with their idea.
Council members are now crunching the numbers to see if it can meet the hefty request to spend $287 million to help pay for the $1.3 billion stadium.
The project also comes with a plan to re-develop the surrounding area and make-good on a promise the city made to residents 40 years ago, but some worry that the decades of disappointment will continue.
“Financially I want to make sure that by making this investment, it doesn’t force us to put off some of our other needed improvements in the city,” councilmember Gina Driscoll said.
The new $1.3 billion ballpark would be located on the same site where Tropicana Field sits.
There’s another layer to the plan to re-develop the surrounding area and create affordable housing.
“The commitment to affordable housing is inadequate in this deal,” councilmember Richie Floyd said. “There is a minimum of only 200 affordable units on site and we’re talking over 4,000 units in this project. It’s a once-in-a-generation re-development with only 200 units on site. That’s very concerning for me.”
Some say the redevelopment project is the city’s chance to honor a promise made to residents 40 years ago when the Black community was pushed out of a neighborhood called the Historic Gas Plant District.
It cleared the way for construction on the 86-acre site where the Tropicana Field is currently located.
The families who had to move away were offered the promise of jobs and opportunities, but it never materialized.
The non-profit, Faith in Florida, is putting more pressure on the mayor and city council to create enough affordable housing to meet the increasing demand.
“It was a lie then and it’s a lie now,” Dylan Dames said. “However, I would urge people to remain optimistic and think critically about this deal and that it does not prioritize residents.”