Trop’s future could lie in the public’s hands

St. Petersburg, Fla.- The public now has a say in what happens to Tropicana Fields. On Monday night a public meeting was held at the Coliseum where the City of St. Petersburg welcomed the community to share their ideas on what should be done with the site.

Back in January 2016 Mayor Rick Kriseman approved a plan allowing the Ray to shop around for new stadium sites, inside or outside of St. Petersburg. With the Rays on the hunt, the 85- acre Trop site could become vacant in the next few years.

HKS Architects is a global architectural firm with stadium-building expertise that will deliver a master plan including a stadium by September 30, which is when the city will present it to the Rays. A later plan without the stadium will come after that.

The city and business owners are working hard to get the Rays to stay in the area. Deputy Mayor, Kanika Tomalin, says “With a team, without a team, those 85 acres stand to redefine our city and really be the first page of the next chapter of our trajectory.”

City economic development officials have said the site is considered one of the most valuable large pieces of urban real estate in the country. Yet city officials are asking the community to tell them what they want to see built.

More than a hundred people showed up to the public meeting Monday night to throw out ideas, concerns and sketches. Transportation was noted as a common theme, but suggestions ranged from greenspace to living space to even a new ballpark.

Local businesses are going to also have a big interest in what happens to the Trop. For years Rays games have attracted foot traffic for businesses lining the streets of St. Petersburg.

There will be another meeting Tuesday night at 6:30 at the Campbell Park Recreation Center.