Another push to preserve St. Pete's waterfront

Now that the Rays have abandoned plans for a waterfront stadium at the Al Lang Field site (for now), preservationists and community leaders are once again petitioning the city to preserve the site as a park.

At tomorrow's 8:30 a.m. St. Petersburg City Council meeting, councilmember Jeff Danner plans to introduce a resolution to designate the Al Lang Field site as "Downtown Center Park." The resolution is supported by the city's Council Of Neighborhood Associations and St. Pete Preservation Inc.

Will Michaels, a CONA board member and president of St. Pete Preservation Inc. sent out an e-mail to members today:

Designation of Al Lang as part of the park zoning will prevent condos and other large buildings from being built on the Al Lang site. It would still allow a Ray's major league regular season stadium to be built on the site, although that would require a referendum to be approved. The current small spring-training Al Lang stadium may remain on the site. This could be used for high school, college, or Little Leagure baseball, or for cultural activities (plays and concerts), or a new permanent location for the popular Saturday Morning Market, etc. The small Al Land Stadium fits the site and still provides green space and views of the bay for the public. One of our most precious assets is our Downtown Waterfront Park. Placing Al Lang under the downtown park zoning will further help to preserve the Waterfront Park for future generations.

Last year, I reported on residents' push for this waterfront protection. But the day after I filed my story, the Rays came out with their own plan for the site, completely changing the narrative.

CONA president Barbara Heck already wrote the City Council supporting the resolution, but Michaels says all concerned residents need to contact the City Council to show their support.

(Photo courtesy of Tim Baker)

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