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St. Petersburg seeks residents to serve on Gas Plant advisory council

Projects that get public benefits must invest in the community, and this board will serve as watchdog.
 
The St. Petersburg City Council, city officials and representatives with the Tampa Bay Rays meet for the first time in public to discuss the terms of the Rays stadium deal and larger Historic Gas Plant District redevelopment on Oct. 26 at City Hall.
The St. Petersburg City Council, city officials and representatives with the Tampa Bay Rays meet for the first time in public to discuss the terms of the Rays stadium deal and larger Historic Gas Plant District redevelopment on Oct. 26 at City Hall. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Oct. 31, 2023|Updated Nov. 1, 2023

St. Petersburg is looking for qualified residents to serve on an advisory council to determine whether the Historic Gas Plant District project around a proposed new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays provides enough benefits to the community.

The Community Benefits Advisory Council is a nonpartisan board that advises the mayor and City Council and consults on whether the Community Benefits Agreement is properly applied. That agreement requires that developments receiving major public benefits, such as a land discount or a financial contribution, reinvest back into the community. That could mean affordable housing, environmental benefits or job training.

Applicants must reside, work or own a business within 1 mile of where the project is located — in this case, around Tropicana Field. They must sign and notarize a document attesting to no financial or other conflict of interest with the project and need to be prepared to provide input on the Historic Gas Plant District Redevelopment’s community benefits. Members are expected to attend weekly meetings in January 2024. Applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 10.

While a new stadium for the Rays is not subject to the Community Benefits Agreement, the surrounding 60 to 69 acres of public land that could be sold to the Rays is subject to the agreement.

The Gas Plant project marks the second project to be subject to the community benefits agreement. The first was a plan to bring a Moffitt Cancer Center campus to city-owned land in downtown St. Petersburg, which was greenlit by that council. It was nixed by Mayor Ken Welch because it did not have enough affordable housing. That land remains vacant.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.