Rays stadium in Oldsmar? The mayor sure thinks so
OLDSMAR — No one can accuse Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis of not dreaming big.
The Tampa Bay Rays have yet to reveal where they would like to build a new ballpark, but that has not deterred Bevis from pitching the north Pinellas city of just 14,000 people as the best location for a new multi-million dollar stadium.
Bevis plans to unveil a conceptual masterplan with renderings of a new ballpark at a media event next week, on Oct. 27. Bevis will be joined by Francisco Semsch, President of FSA Architecture/Construction.
The presentation will detail why city officials think Oldsmar is the right location. That includes regional connectivity, available land, development readiness and financial feasibility, according to a news release.
Among the information that will be presented are numbers showing the income and population density within 30 miles of the proposed new site.
In April, Bevis played up Oldsmar’s location at the border between Hillsborough and Pinellas. He told the Times a stadium could be built on 120 acres of undeveloped land owned by Tampa Bay Downs lies just to the west of Race Track Road, the actual county line.
That could mean a new ballpark — which could cost upward of $500 million — could get funding from both counties.
"When we started this conversation 2 1/2 years ago it was kind of tongue in cheek, but the more we talked to people, the more it made sense," Bevis said in April.
The Rays have at least heard some of what Bevis has to say. He and city manager Bruce Haddock met with Rays executives Brian Auld and Melanie Lenz.
Team officials declined to comment about the presentation when told about it Monday.
Since getting permission from St. Petersburg to look for new stadium sites, the Rays have been meeting with local elected officials and business leaders on both sides of Tampa Bay.
This year, the team finished last in Major League Baseball in average attendance for the fifth season in a row. Team owners say they need a new ballpark to be competitive.