City council pressures mayor for update on Rays, redevelopment of Tropicana Field site

Ahead of crucial decisions on how to redevelop the Tropicana Field site, St. Petersburg city councilors are ratcheting up pressure on the mayor to disclose where talks stand with the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I am very concerned about this apparent stalemate," said Councilor Darden Rice, during a workshop Thursday afternoon.

The day after reports the team said it could block development at the site, councilors pushed back.

"I want to solve this problem," said Councilor Ed Montanari.

City council wants to be clued-in on what - if anything - is being said between Mayor Rick Kriseman and the Rays. 

They'll have to approve plans anyway, plans they call transformational. 

How often does a city get a fresh start on 86 acres in the middle of downtown?

"I am unclear as to what the Rays are asking for at this point," said Councilor Amy Foster.

Mayor Rick Kriseman argued now is no time to do what happened last year, which was to hold back-and-forth press conferences with the team, which exposed negotiations and dirty laundry.

"That does not mean that we have not in the past, or are not now, having conversations or discussions about the future of the team," said Kriseman.

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He's pledging to update councilors during one-on-one meetings, meetings that can be shielded from the public. 

The mayor insisted the Rays can't block them as long as what the city builds isn't in the way of holding baseball games.

"In 2028, the Rays get zero dollars from any redevelopment that occurs on the land," said Kriseman. "The clock is ticking. But not for us. For the Rays."

The team said in a statement that it is focused on the sister-city concept.