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St. Petersburg announces 1,800-seat baseball stadium at Walter Fuller complex

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman didn’t know the stadium’s cost or when construction on the facility would begin.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman didn’t know the stadium’s cost or when construction on the facility would begin.
Published Mar. 12, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman announced plans Wednesday to build an 1,800-seat stadium at the Walter Fuller baseball complex in western part of the city.

But he said he didn't know how much it would cost to build or when construction would start.

"We don't have an idea yet. We are working on finalizing those numbers," Kriseman said.

The price tag largely depends on how many tourist tax dollars the mayor is able to wrangle from the Tourist Development Council. In recent months, some TDC members have said they would like to see more money used for marketing Pinellas County beaches and attractions, and fewer dollars spent on capital projects.

Last year, Kriseman fought those efforts, which were eventually put on the back burner. But county commissioners and TDC members will take up the issue again next week.

Renderings of the proposed stadium at 7901 30th Ave. N — dubbed Walter Fuller Baseball Championship Field — show a modest facility with a children's play area, berm seating, covered seating and concession stands.

A new stadium would bolster the city's international baseball program — this year featuring young talent from Puerto Rico and Canada — as well as attract college tournaments and local baseball championships, the mayor said.

The west St. Petersburg location is part of a long-planned transition of baseball operations away from Al Lang Stadium in downtown, which has been transformed into a soccer stadium for the Tampa Bay Rowdies under an agreement with Rowdies owner Bill Edwards.

The mayor said the stadium would bring many people to a part of the city they wouldn't normally travel to and take in a game in an "intimate" setting.

"This will be a world-championship facility that will bring more visitors to our city," Kriseman said.

On another baseball matter, Kriseman said he has been talking to City Council members and hopes to complete an agreement by opening day on April 6 with the Tampa Bay Rays that would allow the team to look outside the city for a new stadium site.

Kriseman said he thinks the city and team have a deal on Tropicana Field development rights, an issue that helped scuttle the first attempt to gain City Council approval in December.

"It's our hope with addressing those, that this will be the final hurdle," he said. "But we're still having those discussions."

Five council members voted against the previous proposal. Kriseman said he had talked to all of them, but wouldn't say if any have shifted their positions.

Kriseman declined to say that if a deal isn't reached by April 6 whether he would put an agreement on the shelf — at least for the regular season.

"If we're going to get something completed, we certainly would like to have it done before opening day. At this point in time, it's really in council's hands," he said.

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Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Contact Charlie Frago at or (727) 893-8459. Follow @CharlieFrago.


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