ST. PETERSBURG — After meeting with Rays owner Stuart Sternberg on Wednesday, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said he is still waiting to hear if the team wants to pursue a new baseball stadium in the city.
But, Kriseman said, the clock is ticking.
The city wants some clarity on whether a stadium could be part of the redevelopment of the Tropicana Field site, and there are potential stadium funds that may soon be earmarked for other projects.
“The (Pinellas) County Commission oversees those TDC (Tourist Development Council) dollars and they’ve indicated they would keep that money in a lock box, but it’s not going to sit there forever,’’ Kriseman said. “We’ve been looking at the finances and figuring out where the money would come from if the team is interested in building here. Once they make that decision, we’ll be ready to start having serious conversations. We just need to know if we’ll have a dance partner.’’
Sternberg has previously said it would likely be summertime before he decides what direction to go in terms of a new stadium.
The Rays spent the previous three years focused on a potential stadium in Hillsborough County, but the deadline for that deal expired on Dec. 31 without a financing plan the team considered viable.
The team is tied to its Tropicana Field lease through 2027, and can no longer have discussions with anyone outside of St. Pete.