With a list of 17 possible locations for a new baseball stadium, Pinellas County leaders can now deliver a pitch to keep the Tampa Bay Rays from fleeing to Hillsborough County.
On Monday, Pinellas County commissioners received information on seven St. Petersburg sites that were added to the list of 10 county sites released two weeks ago.
The seven St. Petersburg locations released Monday include Albert Whitted Airport, Al Lang Stadium, Bridgeway Acres Landfill and Carillon Town Center. The others are a former sod farm owned by Jabil Circuit, the Toytown property near Interstate 275 and Roosevelt Boulevard and Snug Harbor, 39 acres off Gandy Boulevard.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Monday that the Rays are interested in the Snug Harbor site.
The 39 acres is large enough for a stadium and all the extras the Rays envision. It's owned by a local couple who wants to sell, which could simplify negotiations. The nearby roads are already slated for substantial improvements, easing access to the somewhat isolated property.
It's also a natural stop for the proposed Tampa to St. Petersburg ferry, if that initiative ever materializes. It's also in a county that has already reserved bed tax money for a new ballpark.
The Times also broke down all 17 locations. County officials now plan to meet privately with team leaders.
Commission Chairman Charlie Justice said Monday that most of the sites were not a surprise, but they "will start to bring some clarity to the conversation as the Rays set up their wish list for a new stadium."
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman prefers to keep the team on the 86 acres surrounding Tropicana Field. But county commissioners have said they need to consider all options in case the team doesn't want to remain in the Sunshine City.
"Pinellas County is publishing these sites based on technical criteria, without regard to viability, control, or the many other considerations that will determine the final outcome," said the mayor's spokesman, Ben Kirby. "This is an expected part of the process and conversation initiated by Mayor Kriseman."
Contact Mark Puente at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2996. Follow @MarkPuente