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My best-case scenario would be a smaller stadium and resulting footprint, perhaps 30,000 capacity on the east end of the current site. Where the current stadium is I would put parking garages and mixed-use retail and restaurants and some workforce housing apartments. No more surface lot parking- the land is too valuable, and we need to be mindful of the value of it at all times. I also think it would be a great location for some office buildings, to add to the live-work-play theme that St.Pete has been working to emphasize. Business HQs on the site would hopefully translate into partnerships with the team for suites, ticket packages, marketing, etc, which would in turn encourage more businesses to want to occupy the spaces for the trendy factor. I would also encourage that we fulfill the promise that we made when we built the Trop to the displaced African American business owners that formerly occupied the location. We owe them a place to return and achieve success. As for financing, the question is two pronged, depending on if a stadium is built or not. If they are to remain, the Rays should be offered some share, the exact amount to be negotiated later, of the revenue for redevelopment of the rest of the site in exchange for staying. We could also dedicate Bed Tax dollars that are currently invested in the Rays to build a new stadium. I am also open to using some CRA money for the stadium as long as it is part of a larger redevelopment effort around the stadium. If the Rays were to leave, simply put, the site can help finance itself. Land on the eastern and northern borders of the current site, in the University Park and EDGE district, is going for record prices. Hotels, conference centers, small businesses, office space, apartments- developers would be tripping over themselves to get development rights to any of the land. We just need to be sure all applicants are properly vetted. From a city standpoint, we would need to finance the reintegration of roads and sidewalks, and provide infrastructure improvements.

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Paid for and Approved by Robert Blackmon for St. Petersburg City Council, District 6
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