Rays stadium site at erstwhile trash heap?

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Rays stadium site at erstwhile trash heap?

Little speculative buzzings about the Tampa Bay Rays are always fun, however excruciatingly slowly this stadium saga drags on.

The dance between the team and the City of St. Pete over the team's obligation to play at a stadium it doesn't like (a sentiment the public seems to hold as well, going by attendance numbers) through 2027 has been going on longer than this reporter has been a reporter.

So, obviously, the revelation that developers, including one who has expressed interest in making a stadium for the Rays in the past, are looking at the Toytown area, probably has a lot of people excited.

Toytown is a county-owned swath of property just off I-275 and an empty bottle's throw from the Howard Frankland Bridge. The county accepted sale and lease bids for the site between July 1 and Sept. 1, and three entities responded.

One of the developers eyeing the site is Darryl LeClair, whom the Rays spurned a few years back when he tried to pitch them a stadium site in the nearby Feather Sound area.

Only the names of the bidders are public at this point, so it's unclear what LeClair and others have in mind for the inactive landfill.

The two other developers who bid on the site are Meridian Capital Realty and SunRay Park.

You may be saying to yourself, 'wait, hold up a sec. A fucking landfill?'," which would be a reasonable response in our estimation.

But rest assured. This is old garbage; "some 25 years of buried household trash, construction debris, yard waste and sludge."

The landfill, which made its debut during the dawn of BPA plastics, the early '60s, has been closed since the mid-'80s, and it's possible for its remaining contents to be excavated and disposed of in accordance with current waste disposal protocol.

If at least one of those developers has baseball in mind for the site, it wouldn't be the first time Toytown was considered for a sports complex, among other things.

Over the years, officials considered the area for a four-year university, a large botanical garden, a golf course and an industrial park, according to a St. Petersburg Evening Independent column that came out when this reporter was a ten-week-old babby. The writer, Times/Independent alum Jon Wilson, called Toytown "the Bermuda Triangle of good intentions."

Most recently, WTSP reporter/ShadowoftheStadium blogger Noah Pransky notes, the county was eyeing the site for a shopping-and-sportsing complex, but, it being 2010 at the time, it never panned out.

Tampa Bay Times reporter Tony Morrero writes the paper reached out the bidders for comment on the details of their proposal to no avail.

So the speculation carries on.

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