Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg mayor trying to make it up to fans who got towed on Rays' opening day

ST. PETERSBURG — The city is going to make it up to the fans whose 14 vehicles were towed during the Rays' opening day on April 6.

Mayor Bill Foster said they'll all get to attend a baseball game this season courtesy of the city of St. Petersburg.

Just as important, they'll also receive a parking pass.

"It truly wasn't something that the city was personally liable for," Foster said. "But that being said, it happened in the city and it left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. We're all about pleasant experiences and good taste."

Those fans showed up for the opener and paid $20 to park in a designated lot with a special sign and a city parking permit. They didn't do anything wrong.

But everything else did go wrong. The parking sign had been obtained by a previous tenant who had been evicted. But the person who sold the spots thought they had permission from the old tenant. The new property manager didn't know what was going on and had all the vehicles towed.

City Council member Wengay Newton brought up the incident at Thursday's council meeting and said the city needs a revamped towing ordinance.

"If someone returns and their car is gone," he said, "they're probably never coming back to St. Pete."

The mayor said he already had a plan to placate those fans: free tickets and a parking pass to the game of their choice. The city will hand out tickets from its allotment of 10 box seats that it gets because of its sponsorship.

City spokeswoman Beth Herendeen is reaching out to fans who were towed. Everyone who was in their party on opening day is eligible for a ticket. A handful have accepted the tickets and the city is waiting to hear back from everyone else.

"This applies to Yankees fans as well," Foster said. "I just prefer that they not wear their Yankees' gear if they're going to be guests of the city."

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