ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Bay Rays are expected to make a major announcement about the construction of a new stadium on Tuesday.
The City of St. Petersburg confirms they will take part in the announcement along with officials from Pinellas County.
The Rays have a lease to stay in their current home at Tropicana field until 2027. There has been speculation that the team could move to Orlando or Las Vegas. A new stadium would keep the team in St. Petersburg for the foreseeable future. That would make some business owners happy.
Tiwaporn Rattanachane, who owns a Thai restaurant near Tropicana Field, says the team is good for business.
“Every time they have game days, early people trying to get into the game, trying to grab a quick bite from us,” said Rattanachane.
Jack Spittle, who works at the Full Court clothing and shoe store nearby, agrees.
“Game day—when there is a Rays game or a big Rays game especially, there’s tons of people walking and shopping and see what St. Pete’s about and that’s good for us,” said Spittle.
He says the business’ owners have been following stadium developments for some time.
“We’ve been trying to keep track of what’s going to happen because it does impact our business, whether it’s a game day or something going on at the Trop,” said Spittle.
Not everyone is excited the team will be staying. Pastor Manuel Sykes with the Bethel Community Baptist Church says when the original stadium was built, it negatively impacted the Black community.
“The relocation of the Gas Plant community basically uprooted generations and a independent housing and economic area that Black people were proud of,” said Sykes.
He says the people who were relocated were never made whole for their loss, and jobs for the Black community never materialized after the stadium was built.
“There were certain lies that were told. It was just lies, it was not promises,” said Sykes.