St. Pete talks about proposed ballpark

04/24/08 Mitch E. Perry
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The St. Petersburg City Council conducted another workshop on the waterfront stadium proposal by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Several members of the city’s administration came before the Council today to talk about a report they released late last week.

One of the bones of contention between what the Rays have proposed and what the city thinks is necessary is how far fans should have to walk to the stadium from where they park. The Rays think it’s okay to have fans travel three-quarters of a mile away. But city Transportation and Parking Director Joe Kubicki said that’s too far. Kubicki said the city believes 7,000 dedicated parking spaces should be available for all baseball events at the Al Lang site.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker said he was extremely appreciative of all the work the Rays have done in presenting their study on parking and other infrastructure needs.

Michael Kalt, the Tampa Bay Rays executive whose job is to see that the proposed 34,000 waterfront park come to fruition, was asked by City Councilman Jamie Bennett if there are any other Major League ballparks built recently that are similar in terms of financing or geographic location to what the Rays are intending. Kalt said there were no exact comparisons, but said San Francisco is similar in some ways.

The next City Council meeting on the Rays stadium will take place on May 22. The Council must decide by June whether to put a referendum on the ballot in the fall for citizens approval.

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