4-18-2016 1-24-20 PM

In the never-ending efforts to find a plot of land in the Tampa Bay area for a new stadium that can make everybody happy, The Tampa Bay Times, brings us a column titled, “Could hunt for stadium lead Tampa Bay Rays to … Oldsmar?

Oldmar? Well, that’s an interesting new twist. But once you move past the kumbaya fluff, there is actually a simple reason it won’t work.

On the surface though, it does sound enticing. Tampa Bay Downs owns 120 acres of undeveloped land across the street. 120 acres? The Rays have said themselves that they only have to have 20 acres.

But there is more. The lot is on the county line that separates Hillsborough and Pinellas. And while it may not be the first choice for folks in Polk and Manatee Counties, a stadium in Oldsmar could draw from Pasco and Hernando Counties. Still, it is the proximity to both Hillsborough and Pinellas that is the big selling point.

By being so close to both counties, there is the potential for the team to be seen as belonging to both counties. That could lead to funding for a new stadium from both counties. At least that is what Oldsmar mayor Doug Bevis is hoping.

“It definitely has the potential of funding from both counties,” Bevis said. “That’s one thing they indicated.”

Drawing tax money from both counties is the obvious advantage. The Tampa Bay Downs owns 350 acres on the Hillsborough side of the line, so working with one landowner would also be a plus.

Having as many funding sources as possible benefits the Rays and Pinellas, which could bode well for a stadium in Oldsmar.

That sounds nice, but it also sounds far-fetched.

While many may like the idea of the two counties working together in perfect harmony, it is hard to envision any scenario where folks in Hillsborough are going to fork over money for a project in Pinellas. It doesn’t matter how close it is, the stadium will either be in Hillsborough or it won’t be.

In fact, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan politely shot this idea down in the middle of the story.

“Realistically, that’s going to be a tall order,” Hagan told the Tampa Bay Times. “In a perfect world we could create a regional funding package to make the money work. But, with significant unfunded challenges, it makes it difficult to invest the funds in another county.”

Translation: It ain’t happening.

But that didn’t stop the dream from being put forward. After all, there are a lot more pluses than minuses. However, that one big minus, the money, trumps all others.

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6 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Anywhere but there.

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  2. MarkE says:

    Infrastructure.

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  3. DRR says:

    I wish the Rays would just move to a better market and we could move past all of this.

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  4. monte says:

    Where's the inter-state that goes to Oldsmar? Dumb idea!!

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  5. Geoff Peterson says:

    Put it on the water somewhere and make it iconic like San Fran. Maybe where the dog track is in St Pete or get rid of that ridiculous airport that only serves a few rich guys on the waterfront in St Pete. Channelside would be great too but not sure they can free up the space.

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