An aerial view of Tropicana Field
If you could poll 100 Rays fans about where they'd like to see a new stadium built, most would probably say they'd like one built closer to where they live.
So it should be no huge surprise Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist is floating the idea of a possible stadium in his district, near Sulpher Springs and USF, a little ways up I-275 from Downtown Tampa.
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He says the former Tampa Greyhound Track could be an ideal location, with ample land and I-275 exit ramps already built. Crist says it would preserve valuable Downtown Tampa land for other uses, and even speculates the complex could also possibly include a new USF football stadium.
Of course, Hillsborough County doesn't have the money to pay for a new baseball stadium, let alone a football stadium too. And if the stadium isn't built in Downtown Tampa, you can kiss the $100-$150 million in established TIF funds goodbye too. Crist suggests a new TIF could be created in the currently blighted area, but with no track record, those funds would be much tougher to bond.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn seemed unimpressed, telling the Times: "I don't think anybody has really given it any serious consideration, because the model for Major League Baseball over the last decade has been stadiums in the downtown core...They want a stadium that's walkable."
Remember, location has never been as important in this discussion as financing. And even Buckhorn admitted possible stadium locations are a dime-a-dozen.
"Anybody with a city block and a cell phone is going to try to put their property in play," he said.