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Rays get “Baseball Forever” pitch from Rick Kriseman

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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and local Chamber of Commerce President Chris Steinocher pitched a deal to the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday that would have a new stadium built at the existing Tropicana Field site.

The 43-page “Baseball Forever” pitch includes letters of support from 15 major employers in Pinellas County, all of which said they were devoted to keeping the pro baseball team in St. Petersburg.

Among the corporate supporters were BayCare Medical Group, Bayfront Health, Ceridian, Duke Energy, HSN, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Nielsen and Raymond James.

The plan would completely redesign the 86-acre site to include a kids zone, neighborhood market, hotel, conference center and, of course, “a new contemporary sustainable ballpark,” which the Rays organization would take the lead role in designing.

“The ballpark site would be approximately 20 acres and intricately integrated into the surrounding urban fabric, including the redevelopment of the existing Tropicana Field site and the surrounding area,” the report said.

More than 3.2 million people live within a 60 minute drive of the site, and the plan says that radius captures the bulk of the cities wealth, with the average annual disposable income in the area coming out to about $55,000.

The plan also includes an “innovation district” that would feature a research and tech campus to bring high-skilled workers to the city.

The report said the proposed build out is “a model of mixed-use urban development and the business of Major League Baseball” and includes a walkthrough of how the development will be integral to attracting high-skill workers, enriching the lives of residents and bringing tourism to downtown.

Kriseman will pitch the plan to the St. Petersburg City Council when it meets at 8:30 am Thursday at City Hall.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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