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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ronnie Duncan and Hillsborough baseball stadium? Not so, he says



One aspect of the news of the group behind the Florida State Fairgrounds group is former Pinellas County Commissioner Ronnie Duncan's ties to them -- and notably, the rumors of making it the home for a new stadium in Hillsborough County for the Tampa Bay Rays.

A Pinellas playmaker helping a Hillsborough stadium?

Duncan, a Tarpon Springs resident who runs a Tampa development business, said Thursday night that there's nothing to it. A stadium has a "slim to none" chance at the fairgrounds, Duncan said.

"Candidly, I haven't been involved in any of that stuff," said Duncan, who noted the idea for a baseball stadium at the fairgrounds lost steam once the ABC Coalition downplayed the chances in August.

Duncan was part of a subcommittee for ABC that delved into the costs of renovating Tropicana Field.

Around the same time, his corporation, The Duncan Companies, hired members of the Land Sharks brokerage team in August after the brokerage arm of their former company, GVA Advantis, went south, Duncan said. That team, specially Land Sharks president Mark Cooney, had worked for about a year as consultants with Republic Land Development of Virginia on the fairgrounds site, and continues to do so.

Republic and other partners, including former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, have discussed a major new development at the state fairgrounds.

But Duncan, who is chairman of Pinellas charter review commission and the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, said he has attended virtually no meetings on the project, and Cooney handles the day-to-day operation.

-- David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:26pm]


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