St. Pete to hold workshop to examine Tampa Bay Rays’ Trop lease

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St. Petersburg’s major league baseball team has threatened to leave the area. WMNF’s Josh Holton reports, yesterday the St. Pete City Council decided to schedule a workshop to overview the existing lease with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays are under contract to play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg until 2027. As of 2008, the Rays had received an annual11 million dollar subsidy from tax payers. But City Council member Leslie Curran wants the council to consider amending the current lease. Attorney John Wolfe said that while the City may propose an amendment to the agreement, that they must consider the needs of taxpayers.

Mayor Bill Foster has asked the Rays to have a conversation with him about any possible plans to amend the lease. But he has been reluctant to have these negotiations in the public eye.

Curran was concerned that unless the conversation was held in public, there might be a perception that St. Pete doesn’t care if the Rays leave or not.

Many folks are tired of seeing huge corporations like the Rays get millions in taxpayer dollars. But Curran said she is worried about losing an opportunity to discuss the contract terms to keep major league baseball in the area.

Council member Steve Kornell said that St. Petersburg should take charge of the conversation.

Kornell’s Council colleague, Jeff Danner, suggested that the council needed to overview the lease so that both the public and the council would have a clear idea of what’s at stake.

So Curran filed the motion.

Although there has not yet been a date set for the new workshop, Mayor Foster reminded the public that he is ready for the Rays to come to his office anytime to discuss their plans for the future.