Rays execs, Hillsborough officials talk about potential stadium sites

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hillsborough County officials and Tampa Bay Rays executives talked Tuesday about potential stadium locations. The meeting lasted less than two hours, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan said.

The officials from the county are part of an unofficial working group. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Eric Hart from the Tampa Sports Authority are in the group, Hagan said.

Hagan said the group started meeting in late January or early February, and this was the third time the officials and executives met. Tuesday marked the first time the group talked about potential sites, Hagan said.

The goal is to have a plan within the year. On Tuesday the group focused on the strengths and challenges of nine sites. Seven sites were presented by the Hillsborough working group, while two were ideas from the Rays. The sites include the Tampa Park Apartments, Florida State Fairgrounds and Jefferson High School, which is in the West Shore business district.

Guiding principles for the plan – and a potential site – include local flare, regional connectivity and site accessibility, Hagan said. The participants did not rank or prioritize sites Tuesday. In addition, no sites were eliminated.

The group is tentatively scheduled to meet again June 28. Hagan said the group hopes to narrow the list to two to four locations at that meeting and then see how much the sites would cost.

Hagan said the Rays are also working with the business communities in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties for input. It’s critical that businesses are involved, he added.

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