Rays back down on state funding for park

01/08/08 Mitch E. Perry
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Officials with the Tampa Bay Rays announced yesterday that they will not attempt to seek $60-million in state subsidies to help pay for their proposed waterfront ballpark in St. Petersburg.

That announcement from senior vice president Michael Kalt came two days after the St. Petersburg Times reported that a majority of legislators representing Pinellas County had expressed no interest in helping the Rays get the financing. Public subsidies for sports franchises has always been controversial, but there was considerable opposition this time around, due in part to a tightening state budget.

Democratic Sen. Charlie Justice, who represents Pinellas and Hillsborough in Tallahassee, says the Rays move is a good decision.

The Rays Michael Kalt says that not acquiring the $60-million will not affect the plan to build a 34,000 seat park at the site of Al Lang Field in 2012.

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