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Rays waterfront stadium is simply not wanted

On Rays stadium, wait till facts are in | April 17, editorial

Waterfront stadium is simply not wanted
In recent months the Times has done a commendable job documenting the issues that surround the Rays' proposal to build a new stadium on the site of Al Lang Field.

Regrettably, this Times' editorial obfuscates rather than clarifies the issue. Your suggestion that we wait for further business details before making a decision on the waterfront stadium misses the point.

I can speak only for myself, but I don't want a Major League Baseball stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. Period. This is not about money. It is not about how much, or who pays for it. I don't care if the Rays pay for the whole thing themselves, although they clearly will not.

For four years in college I lived four blocks from Boston's Fenway Park. I know firsthand the impact of such a stadium. It isn't pretty. In my opinion, as a 60-plus-year St. Petersburg resident, and 40-plus-year businessman, I unequivocally believe that a stadium on our waterfront will destroy our downtown and undo all that has been accomplished in the past two decades. Our beautiful city of homes, museums, restaurants and parks will be inundated in a sea of thousands of cars. Traffic will be gridlocked hours before and after each home game. Parking for anything — game, restaurant, visiting a friend or a business — will be impossible. Local businesses will be damaged, if not destroyed, because regular customers will stay away 80 nights a year, and the baseball patrons will not take their place. (Only their parking place!)

I, and many like me, are trying to get our City Council and our city administration to recognize that we don't want a stadium — any stadium — built on our beautiful, precious waterfront.

Bud Risser, St. Petersburg
On Rays stadium, wait till facts are in | April 17, editorial

Yes, wait

Time is exactly what POWW (Preserve Our Wallets and Waterfront) has been asking for. If this is to go to referendum, it must not do so unless or until all the information is in City Council's hands and has been thoroughly evaluated.

POWW has been asking, from day one, for city staff and City Council to do independent due diligence on all aspects of the proposal. The Rays have acknowledged they are still gathering information. POWW has been asking, "Why the rush to push it to a vote this year?"

City Council members have no obligation to follow a shortened timetable that leaves them inadequate time to evaluate the proposal, before presenting it to the voters.

Willi Rudowsky, St. Petersburg

On Rays stadium, wait till facts are in | April 17, editorial

Is there a reason?

The editorial encouraging waiting for the final financial picture to emerge before tearing down the existing stadium and building a new one on the waterfront is certainly correct, but it is incomplete and misleading.

Financing is of course a major issue. However, I don't recall seeing a single shred of rationale for considering the idea to start with — and I read the paper cover to cover daily. Perhaps the 20 or so downtown bars will sell more beer, but that's hardly a rationale. Do we need to generate more revenue for parking garages? I don't think so! Is there a cultural benefit the city and its residents are missing from a waterfront stadium? I don't think so!

So what does justify thinking about it at all?

The citizens, and their government, need to go back to square one and determine if there is any legitimate reason (not just making more money for team owners) to move forward with the idea at all — not just how can we pay for it.

John Horsting, St. Petersburg

No economic sense

Our precious open waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg should be open and available to all of us to enjoy. Its use should not be destroyed and cluttered by buildings or even worse a baseball stadium that is used 80 or so times a year for financial gain by a small group of professional sports owners.

It just does not make any economic sense. We are in uncertain economic times. We already have a glut of property on the market with no improvement in sight. And yet it is proposed that we tear down a perfectly good air-conditioned baseball facility with plenty of parking and replace it with more homes and strip centers thereby flooding an already glutted real estate market with more homes and commercial property.

I like and enjoy downtown St. Petersburg the way it is. Let's not destroy our beautiful waterfront.

Bob Schenkel, Seminole

Foes of stadium digging for dirt | April 13, story

Diligent dealings

I take issue with Aaron Sharockman's characterization of the motivation and context within which the Downtown Neighborhood Association board made its decision to oppose a new stadium at the Al Lang site, and the impression he conveys that Michael Kalt, senior vice president for the Tampa Bay Rays, was not given a fair opportunity to answer the legitimate concerns of our members.

DNA board members started meeting with Kalt as early as Nov. 15 when the Rays' proposal was first made public. Realizing immediately the impact this would have on our neighborhood and the city, we invited him to speak at our next general membership meeting on Jan. 10. A full Sunshine Center auditorium asked wide-ranging questions about the stadium. A committee, open to all members, was established to pursue the significant number of answers not available that evening and to study the issue in detail to fully inform our members.

Kalt was invited to meet with them in February and was provided in advance with a list of questions. The committee report to the full membership is due in July.

The decision made by the DNA board to oppose the construction of a new stadium at the Al Lang site was based on, and is consistent with, our longstanding commitment to park zoning for this site and the belief that the mass and scale of the proposed structure is inconsistent with that goal.

Marilyn Olsen, president, Downtown Neighborhood Association, St. Petersburg

Foes of stadium digging for dirt | April 13

Uncivil actions

Aaron Sharockman's article fairly describes the actions of a group calling themselves POWW (Preserve Our Wallets and Waterfront). I have observed their tactics personally at three communitywide meetings. As quoted in the article, the group is supposedly determined to stop at nothing to derail the waterfront stadium proposal.

Certainly, we want to hear all sides, but POWW's provocative statements and behaviors say more about the messengers than their message.

Let sane and civil discourse be the model, so that the final stadium issue may be fairly decided.

Donna Guillaume, St. Petersburg

Foes of stadium digging for dirt | April 13,

Concerned citizens

This article was terribly one-sided in favor of the Rays moving their stadium to the downtown and downright defamatory against the members of POWW who oppose this move.

The reporter provided for readers a list of POWW members who are spearheading the fight against the Rays move. He made this group seem like troublemakers who are acting to stir up controversy without valid concerns. But this is a list of concerned citizens who care enough about their community to volunteer their time and energy so that the rest of us can benefit.

POWW has raised important questions that should be answered for the citizens before the stadium question goes to the voters. Please respect their right to question and try your hand at objective reporting. Your biased reporting has encouraged me to become involved with POWW.

Rosemary Sexton, St. Petersburg

Foes of stadium digging for dirt | April 13

Honest questions

Please keep in mind that POWW is a volunteer organization trying (and succeeding in my estimation) to do what our elected officials are unable or unwilling to do, and that is to raise for public discussion the myriad issues surrounding the Rays' stadium proposal.

What chemical waste may remain under Tropicana Field is an issue. Who assumes responsibility for any cleanup costs is an issue. The county passed any Toytown liability to the developer. The city should do the same.

If you read the other issues brought to our attention by POWW you will note that these are honest questions which deserve study before this unnecessary and incredibly expensive proposal is even considered for referendum.

We should thank these volunteers, not demean or belittle their efforts.

Ed Lachman, St. Petersburg

Rays waterfront stadium is simply not wanted 04/17/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 3:28pm]
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