Longtime foe of Rays deal is cooking up his own plan
St. Petersburg--- Jim Kennedy has long been opposed to allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to look outside St. Petersburg for a new stadium.
He voted against a deal championed by Mayor Rick Kriseman last year and again opposed a slightly amended plan in May.
But a litte more than a week before an Oct. 22 special meeting called by Council Chairman Charlie Gerdes to consider Gerdes' proposal to patch the rift between the city and its baseball team, Kennedy is developing his own plan, said County Commissioner Janet Long.
Long confirmed to the Tampa Bay Times that she spoke with Kennedy last Friday. She said she promised to keep the details confidential, but said Kennedy had approached Pinellas County and the Rays with his own plan.
"He had some things he wanted from both the county commission and the Rays. He was waiting to hear back," Long said.
Long said she was pleased that Kennedy appeared to be "rising above the past history" with the team.
"It appears that he was trying to break a stalemate here," Long said.
Long was one of several commissioners who sharply criticized the long stand off between the city council and the Rays. Last month, the Atlanta Braves submitted plans to build a spring training facility on 240-acres of former landfill known as "Toytown."
On Wednesday, Long reiterated that she was losing patience.
"I don't know how long the county commission can be held hostage. It's been five years," Long said.
She also said she advised Kennedy that too many plans could bring trouble.
"There can't be seven different people negotiating with the Rays. That's really the mayor's job," Long said.
Neither the Rays nor Kennedy could immediately be reached for comment.