St. Pete considers interstate redesign if Rays move to Tampa

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The city of St. Petersburg is aggressively working on a plan for the Tampa Bay Rays' possible move to Ybor City. Part of the plan includes a major change to the way thousands commute to and from Tampa.

The plan could include removing or redesigning Interstate 175, which connects downtown St. Pete to I-275.

St. Pete development administrator Alan DeLisle says If the Rays go through with their plan to leave, Tropicana Field, and the 86 acres surrounding it, would be transformed into housing, shops, restaurants, and a convention center. 

DeLisle says the most important feature would be facilities that would drive high-paying jobs – like a research facility or technology park.

“We want to use this site to create high-quality jobs for the future of St. Pete,” DeLisle said Tuesday.

The city also wants to incorporate south St. Petersburg into the plans. 

DeLisle says the city is looking into a study that would evaluate I-175, and whether eliminating it would help break down the barrier between downtown and south St. Pete.

“We want to open it up. We want to reintroduce the street grid system -- east, west, north, and south -- connected to those neighborhoods,” he explained, adding this is one of many ideas on the table.

Mayor Rick Kriseman has said St. Pete has a ready-to-go master plan in the event the Rays decide to stay.