Tampa Bay Rays team President Matt Silverman wrote a letter printed in the Tampa Tribune in an effort to address issues being raised concerning the environmental impact of the proposed stadium to be built along the St. Petersburg waterfront.
One of the biggest concerns is that the Rays have yet to complete their own environmental impact analyses.
It seems to us that in stating that they found it disconcerting that we have not completed our environmental and engineering analyses, the Agency [on Bay Management] is attempting to have it both ways. Certainly, had we appeared before them after all of the necessary analyses were complete, we undoubtedly would have been criticized for not consulting with them first.
The Rays and our consultants have already completed a number of preliminary analyses, will be starting additional data collection shortly and believe that we are proceeding with an appropriate scope and sequence of activities to create a plan that will limit any environmental impacts of the project.
We are confident that this project will meet all relevant environmental regulations and produce a net environmental benefit to the community.
As noted in Chapter 10 of the Rays’ preliminary design consideration document (submitted to the city on March 11, and readily available to the public on the city’s Web site), by reducing our carbon footprint by over 70 percent, seeking LEED certification for the ballpark and incorporating innovative stormwater management techniques, we believe we will develop the most sustainable ballpark in all of Major League Baseball.
It would be silly for us to comment on the environmental impact of the proposed stadium without any details, even if Conservation Biology is part of our day job. But one thing we do know about the Tampa Bay Rays is that they are probably the most forward-thinking franchise in baseball and possibly all of sports. If any team would try to build a stadium with a minimal amount of impact on the environment it would be the Rays.
There is a perception that many professional sports franchises care only about making money and will screw the fan at any given opportunity if it means padding their own wallets. This may certainly be true of teams with well-established fan bases that are not likely to be impacted greatly by decisions like these. However, the Rays are not one of these teams. Alienating potential fans, even if it is a small percentage of the constituency would be counter-productive to not only building a fan base but also to building the bottom-line.
If they are anything, the Rays front office is filled with smart businessmen. Certainly the Rays want to build a stadium that is more profitable. But we are fairly confident that they also want to build a stadium that won’t leave any negative footprints. This is a franchise that cannot afford any further negative impacts on the local community. And while it is impossible to please everybody, sometimes it is possible to please most. And it seems as though that is what the Rays are trying to do.
Rays Will Be Good Stewards [Tampa Tribune]