David Straz says city should spend $100 million on new Rays ballpark. Campaign later backtracks.

JAMES BORCHUCK  |  TimesDavid Straz Jr. announced that he is throwing his hat in the ring and running for mayor of Tampa in next years election.
JAMES BORCHUCK | TimesDavid Straz Jr. announced that he is throwing his hat in the ring and running for mayor of Tampa in next years election.
Published May 8 2018

David Straz thinks the Tampa Bay Rays are "very good" for the region and, specifically, Tampa.

To that end, the city should spend about $100 million to help build a new ballpark for the team, he said.

Straz, a retired banker and philanthropist, weighed in on the long-running ballpark saga in an interview Monday with the Tampa Bay Times. 

"There is not capacity to do the whole thing by the city, probably not even half of it. But a small part, yes, the city should participate in my view. The county should participate. And the owners should participate, along with Major League Baseball, in a very significant way," Straz said.

When asked to be more precise in how much money the city should spend, Straz settled on $100 million.

"To me, that sounds reasonable because the city should participate," he said.

Straz said he had no idea what city revenue streams should be tapped, adding that most of what he knows about the ballpark project was from reading the newspaper.

Later, a campaign official said Straz hadn't settled on a precise amount that the city should pony up for a ballpark proposed for Ybor City with a price tag somewhere in the range of $800 million.

Last week, another mayoral candidate, Tampa City Council member Mike Suarez, told the Times that no city money should be used toward building a new ballpark, but Community Redevelopment Area funds could be used for supporting infrastructure.

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