Hillsborough County is getting closer to nailing down a potential baseball park for the Rays.
- Baseball Committee for Hillsborough working behind the scenes on Rays move
- Hillsborough commissioners set to vote on selecting financial firm
- Narrowing down possible stadium site locations is next move
“It’s my goal in six months to bring forward a plan that the county commission can discuss, that the city council can discuss that would include site location, financing, public uses and needs as well as ancillary development that will occur,” said Commissioner Ken Hagan.
On Wednesday, Hagan updated the county commission on the ballpark search that’s underway. The commission also picked a bank, Citigroup, to help advise the county on any potential ballpark financing.
"There's no budgetary impact," Hagan said. "It does not mean there will be any public dollars associated with the ballpark."
It’s all an effort to keep the Rays from leaving the Bay area. A task force has been meeting privately for months. Hagan said they’ll be ready to play ball with a location by the spring.
“That’s when we’ll determine if there’s value or return on investment or any taxpayer dollars,” Hagan said.
Currently, the ballpark task force has 10 locations they like. Hagan said they hope to narrow it down to two or three locations by October. Hagan won't say where those sites might be.
“We’re trying to avoid land prices escalating and going through the roof,” Hagan said.
Hagan said the potential ballpark will likely be in an urban location. The Rays want to make sure there’s foot traffic and accessibility on the weekdays. But the cost of a new ballpark already has some residents hesitating.
“I’ve gotten some questions in my district about the costs of a baseball stadium and I tell them we’re not at that point yet,” said Commissioner Les Miller. “It’s later down the road.”