Pinellas County greenlights further Toytown research

06/02/09 Amy Beeman
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

The Pinellas County Commission voted unanimously today to allow further study at the site of the former landfill called Toytown, a potential location for the possible new Tampa Bay Rays stadium. While there have been no official talks or proposals regarding the stadium, unofficially, there is buzz around the prospect of a new Rays stadium being built on the northeastern St. Petersburg site.

A partner with Bear Creek Capital, the development company who will continue the research, Bill Tippmann, said he thinks there is merit to the idea of using a portion of the 240-acres at Toytown to build a new stadium, but admits it is still too premature to speculate what will be built on the site.

Tippmann says only 20 percent of the research has been done that is necessary for a full assessment of the viability of the land. He says contrary to a report in the St. Petersburg Times that the land may not be strong enough to support a stadium due to its former use as a landfill and its proximity to the aquifer, the experts at his company agree that it is too soon to make that assumption.

Tippmann told the commission that the company’s findings so far have exceeded their expectations. Tippmann says that the sluggish economy is the primary reason for its delayed research, which was set to be completed July 1.

Other proposed uses for the former landfill at Interstate 275 and Roosevelt Boulevard in northeastern St. Petersburg include homes, shops and offices.

The site falls under the jurisdiction of the city of St. Petersburg. Director of Economic Development for Pinellas County Mike Meidel says once the research is completed, proposed land and zoning use changes will be presented to residents at two public hearings.

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