Mayor Bob Buckhorn considers whether Tampa could be home to Rays

09/28/11 Josh Holton
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While the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster haven’t been on speaking terms, the future. While The Rays are contracted to play at Tropicana Field until 2027, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Downtown Tampa could be their new home if the team left St. Pete.

The Tampa Bay Rays are all the rage in both Tampa and St. Petersburg. But the team is looking for a new stadium that St. Petersburg might not be ready to build quite yet. As the team grows it is eying Tampa and other major cities if it is forced to stay at Tropicana field. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club today that Tampa wants to at least keep the team in the region.

Buckhorn has said repeatedly that he won’t use public funds to build the stadium, but he might offer a tool like Tax Increment Financing in order to generate money for a potential stadium in the Channel district.

He made clear that while there are moves to bring the stadium to Tampa, Buckhorn doesn’t want Tampa to be the boyfriend in a divorce.

But he said that a new sports team in Tampa would be good for the economy.

No plans have been made yet, but if a stadium were built, Buckhorn said he would offer a limited range of city services like landscaping to support the project.

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