Kriseman: St. Pete still best choice for Rays

The city of St. Petersburg says it is still the better choice after Hillsborough County proposed a site in Ybor City for a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium.

Mayor Rick Kriseman says at this point, the proposal means absolutely nothing. 

Mayor Kriseman doubled down Wednesday, saying of course Hillsborough County is going to make a proposal but the Rays have made no decision.

He thinks St. Pete is the better option.

"It's just another step in this process that's been laid out," Kriseman said. "The rumors of our stadium's site's death is premature."

Kriseman told everyone worried the Rays will ditch St. Pete for Ybor City to relax.

His words come a day after Hillsborough County Commissioner Ben Hagan announced Hillsborough County will pitch a site in Ybor City as the new home of Rays stadium.

Kriseman says it's about time Hillsborough County got in the game because St. Pete made its pitch months ago for a new stadium close to where Tropicana Field sits.

"This isn't even close to being a settled deal,” Kriseman said. “Hillsborough and Tampa haven't even made their formal presentations yet."

Kriseman says St. Pete is the better option because it's more centrally located when you look at the entire Bay Area market which includes Clearwater and Sarasota.

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He says St. Pete would make better financial sense for the Rays because the city is willing to help out with the cost.

"We've identified funding that would be available to finance a new stadium that doesn't include new taxes," Kriseman pointed out.

Hillsborough's announcement comes 14 days from a very tight mayoral race in St. Pete where keeping the Rays in the Sunshine City has been a key issue.

The Rays say the team is looking forward to reviewing both proposals and making a decision which is expected to come after the St. Pete mayoral election.