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$577-million for new Rays stadium, but who will pay for it? | News

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$577-million for new Rays stadium, but who will pay for it?
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St. Petersburg, Florida - Private developers pushing for a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium in the Carillon Park area say the price tag for a new ballpark could range from $424-million to $577-million.

But the developers, during a public presentation on Friday, were not willing to talk about how a new park might be financed.

Below however are some options that will likely be considered.

Selling the Trop

The first source of revenue for a new stadium could come from what happens with the Rays current home, Tropicana Field. Some have estimated the city could net as much as $50-million by selling the land the Trop sits on.

"Transferring any of the re-development potential of the existing Trop site with 85-acres to another site, that's always a possibility and in a jig saw puzzle of a thousand pieces that's 500 (pieces)," St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster said.

State Help

Another source of revenue for building a new park could be state money. As with other Major League Baseball stadiums, state money may not be used directly for stadium construction, but to pay for infrastructure costs like roads and possibly parking lots.

Bed Tax

A third source could be extending the county's bed tax. "There would be the potential for up to 90% of 1 of the 5-pennies that's currently collected in bed tax. But that would only occur after 2015 when the Trop is paid off," said Visit St.Pete/Clearwater Executive Director D.T. Minich.

Based on the current bed tax, that could bring in $5-million a year for a new stadium.

"Now there's competition for those dollars, beach re-nourishment is one of those things we could do with that money so it's a dialogue we need to have here but certainly I think the county needed to be a partner and we've got a funding source that we've been using for Tropicana Field," said Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.

Rays Contribution

Fourth, the Rays themselves could help pay for a stadium. When the team looked at a downtown ballpark, the Rays were willing to contribute $150-million dollars. The mayor says a similar commitment will likely be needed for any other location.

"We're not going to duplicate the job they did on the residents of Miami and so yeah they have to come to the table," Foster told 10 News on Friday.

Other Options

Additional financing ideas that will likely be discussed include creating a new taxing district around the ballpark, a user tax in the form of a ballpark ticket tax or concessions tax on food and beverages sold at a new stadiums. A car rental tax in Pinellas County may also be considered. 

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