Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster wonders about security costs if RNC party comes to Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG — The prospect is exciting: a showcase party at Tropicana Field on the eve of next year's Republican National Convention.

But while he welcomes that kind of exposure for St. Petersburg, Mayor Bill Foster said the city needs to have a word with RNC organizers and the Tampa Bay Rays about who pays to guard the event, which could draw up to 15,000 journalists and 5,000 or more delegates.

"I know that there are some security needs that I'll end up eating just by virtue of the type of event it is," Foster said this week. But, he added, "There's no way we can eat the whole thing, and there's no way we can eat most of it. We haven't budgeted for it."

So far, no one has asked the city for anything, Foster said, nor are there estimates of what police and similar services would cost. While the city owns the Trop, the Rays manage it. Under a deal between the two, when an event grows to a certain size, the team has to contract with the city for services like security.

"We would like to get a handle on the costs so that everybody knows the expectations of the others," Foster said.

Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn referred questions to the convention's host committee, though the team has agreed to make the Trop available for an RNC event on Aug. 26, the day before the convention is gaveled to order.

The president of the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee maintains that any talk about who pays for what is "very premature" and is not confirming that the party at the Trop — announced two months ago by the director of Pinellas County's tourism agency — will even take place.

"We're still looking at a lot of different options and nothing has been finally decided," host committee president Ken Jones said Friday.

The host committee has what amounts to hold-the-date contracts with nearly 100 potential event venues on both sides of Tampa Bay, including Raymond James Stadium and the University of South Florida Sun Dome. But that doesn't mean events will be scheduled at those facilities.

And Jones said the question of who covers what costs for any particular event is going to driven by a lot of different factors that won't be set until after convention organizers decide where various events will go.

"It depends on where the event is and what the event is," he said. "If you're looking at hosting a dinner at the Capital Grille the security's going to be much different than if you're hosting a 10,000-person event at Raymond James Stadium. It's going to be a facts-and-circumstances situation, and I just can't speculate on the level of security or the amount of security that's going to be required or who the attendees might be."

So when will those decisions be made?

"Fairly soon," Jones said. "We've still got some time to decide these things. When we've done the due diligence and we determine that a venue makes sense, we'll go ahead and firm it up."

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster wonders about security costs if RNC party comes to Tropicana Field 11/18/11 [Last modified: Friday, November 18, 2011 10:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Early estimates peg Hurricane Irma damage at as much as $65B


    The damage totals from Hurricane Irma are still being tallied, but early numbers are in: As of Tuesday, the storm is estimated to have caused between $42.5 billion and $65 billion of damage. That's according to a Tuesday release by Irvine, Calif.-based analytics company CoreLogic.

    Hurricane Irma is estimated to have caused up to $65 billion in damage, said analytics company CoreLogic. Pictured is 
Hermilo Munoz Castillo as wades down a flooded street to check on his home in southern Collier County, Fla. after Hurricane Irma passed. | [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project


    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills more than 40, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked central Mexico on Tuesday, killing dozens of people, collapsing buildings and scattering rubble on streets less than two weeks after another quake left 90 dead in the country's south.

    Rescue workers and volunteers search a building that collapsed after an earthquake in downtown Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. A powerful earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, causing buildings to sway sickeningly in the capital on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that did major damage. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. Hurricane Maria slams Dominica, now takes aim at Puerto Rico


    ROSEAU, Dominica — Dominica's leader sent out an emotional plea for help as Hurricane Maria smashed into the Caribbean island causing "mind-boggling" devastation, but an ominous silence followed …

    [National Hurricane Center]
  5. Tampa Bay concert venues offer deals, take donations for Hurricane Irma victims


    After a week-plus of concert cancellations brought on by Hurricane Irma, the Tampa Bay music scene is ready to get back to work. And Irma is still front and center in everyone's minds.

    Victor Wainwright