ST. PETERSBURG — The group studying stadium options for the Tampa Bay Rays said Thursday that any new ballpark should have a retractable roof.
"We need to have a fully air-conditioned interior," said Alan Bomstein of the community task force called A Baseball Community.
The recommendation is preliminary, and could change. But the group's chairman, Jeff Lyash, said an air-conditioned stadium is consistent with Florida's muggy summer climate.
Bomstein also said a stadium should be built for 37,000 people and be incorporated into any light rail or mass transit project.
The ballpark "should be the first of the next generation of stadium design," Bomstein said, with wider concourses, ergonomically designed seats with storage for personal belongings and clear views of the field from almost anywhere.
A Baseball Community was formed in 2008 at the behest of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker to study ways for the community to better support the Rays. While the focus of the committee's work largely has centered on a new ballpark, it also hopes to increase the team's fan base.
The group later on Thursday is expected to discuss where in the Tampa Bay area a ballpark might be located.
Lyash said he hopes to have final recommendations for local government leaders by late this eyar or early 2010.