Tampa Bay Rays should expect call from Hillsborough County as soon as deal reached with St. Pete
TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Rays can expect a call from Hillsborough County the day the team reaches an agreement with St. Petersburg to explore new stadium sites.
That was the message Wednesday from Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan, the county’s point person and chief cheerleader for bringing the Rays to this side of the bay.
A deal between the Rays and St. Pete appears imminent. Mayor Rick Kriseman hopes to release the terms of a written agreement Thursday followed by a city council vote as early as next week.
Hagan will have his finger on the dial as soon as the vote is finalized.
“On the day an agreement is reached, I’ll place a call with (Rays President) Brian Auld in order to discuss scheduling a meeting with our committee to discuss our long-term goals, needs and plans,” Hagan said.
The committee that hopes to lure the Rays to Hillsborough County is comprised of Hagan, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Sports Authority President and CEO Eric Hart, Fifth Third Bank President and CEO Brian Lamb, and Charlie Sykes of Sykes Enterprises. The group will meet soon to “get their ducks in a row” in advance of the meeting with Rays brass, he added.
“While I do not know what will ultimately transpire, I can tell you that it’s my intent to work as expeditiously as possible and to be as transparent as practical,” Hagan told commissioners.
The update came not long after Kriseman presented Hillsborough commissioners with his plan to bring high-speed ferry to Tampa Bay. And Hagan couldn’t help but mention the upcoming Rays saga to Kriseman.
“I appreciate your vision, your regional vision, and taking the lead not only on (the ferry) but on another big issue that your committee’s going to be discussing here in the next week or so,” Hagan said, referring to the shift since Kriseman took office in city hall’s approach to the Rays.
Kriseman replied, to laughs: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”