Mayor Bill Foster says the city would consider a different location for the Ray's Stadium, but only in St. Petersburg.

Wolfe also discouraged council members from getting wrapped up in any competition between the city and Tampa, especially in case of a lawsuit.


"It's really too bad that the Rays set the stage for pitting St. Petersburg against Tampa," Wolfe said, "I don’t think that is thinking regionally."


According to Foster, it is too early to tell whether further public funding will be necessary in order to keep the Rays in St. Petersburg. If so, Foster said he will seek a referendum.


The 1.1 million square-foot Tropicana field was built in 1990 and hosted its first pitch only 12 years ago, but the team's recent success has had them reconsidering whether their location is beneficial to their success. Low ticket sales and empty seats coupled with the Trop's less-than-central location have Sternberg looking at the entirety of the Tampa Bay area for his team. The bulk of Tampa Bay sports including the Buccaneers and Lightning are located east of the bay. But Foster said he would like to see that change.


"We need to do a better job going westward," Foster told CL after the meeting.


While Foster said his trust in the team and their commitment to St. Petersburg is high, he maintained that St. Petersburg isn't a one dimensional city.


"St. Petersburg is about a lot more than 81 events," said Foster, "But one thing is certain, we want those 81 events to occur."

St. Petersburg- The Tampa Bay Rays may be looking elsewhere for a stadium, but according to city Mayor Bill Foster the venue should be in St. Petersburg.  Foster released his statement to city council members at their meeting Thursday morning.

"The taxpaying residents of St. Petersburg and Pinellas have invested hundreds of millions of  dollars in support of Major League Baseball and the Rays," Foster said, "And above all else, their interests will come first."

In a meeting Monday, team owner Stu Sternberg said in a statement that "the Rays will not be playing in Tropicana Field when our current lease expires in the year 2027." Sternberg and Foster haven't spoken since Monday's meeting.

But the contract with the Trop prohibits the team from talking with other cities or landowners about moving the team. Foster said the city is open to exploring venue options in downtown or the Gateway area, but not in Tampa.

"No sites outside of our geographic boundaries will be considered," Foster said.

However stadium locations in downtown do not include the once proposed waterfront stadium, and Foster said the only plausible downtown option is Tropicana Field.

All eight city council members agree that the use agreement binds the team to the city for the next 17 years. But the team's involvement with Major League Baseball on their hunt for a new stadium could throw an expensive wrench in the city's plans.

"We are not going into this naïve. We are not going to put out heads in the sand. We know the Rays and MLB will have things to say about this," Foster said.

At Thursday's meeting on the situation, City attorney John Wolfe said the city has a plan if that happens.

"The contract is in effect and it does provide for relief in the form of an injunction," Wolfe said.

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