St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch yesterday announced that he “would restart the redevelopment process for Tropicana Field,” with a new request for proposals set to go out "in four to six weeks," according to Colleen Wright of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. The new request is "specifically soliciting proposals that include a baseball stadium 'to provide certainty on the stadium question' and where the Rays will play." The Rays are "allowed to bid or partner on a proposal.” Welch said that he "plans to select a developer by the end of the year.” Rays President Brian Auld said that he “learned of the new request for proposals at Welch’s announcement.” Auld: “We’re going to have to sit back and think about it.” Auld added that the Rays have "not given any input on what should happen, but they have talked about what’s important to the team -- that they should come first.” He said that he "trusts Welch’s steering of the process.” The Rays’ lease at Tropicana Field is up in ‘27 (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 6/29).
SAME SPOT MAY BE BEST: In Tampa, John Romano writes the "notion of putting a new stadium in the same location" as Tropicana Field is "either inspiring or insane.” Romano: "I’d like to offer a third possibility: It’s just reality.” Building a stadium was "never going to be as simple as picking a favorite location and calling an architect.” While many fans and Rays ownership "want a stadium in downtown Tampa," no one "wants to pay for a stadium in downtown Tampa.” The Tropicana Field site has "always offered the easiest path,” as it "has plenty of land, it has revenue streams in place, and with Welch on board, it now has a friendly administration." All it "lacks is enthusiasm, a proven track record and any pizazz whatsoever.” That Welch was "willing to put the brakes on the redevelopment of the Trop’s 86 acres suggests the Rays are on board with this possibility” (TAMPA BAY NEWS, 6/29).