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St. Petersburg officials mull possible changes to Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Despite the Tampa Bay Rays’ 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees Wednesday night, it’s the city’s “pitch” to the Rays that has fans talking.

City officials unveiled an 86-page plan that includes a new ballpark on the northeast corner of the current Tropicana Field, an entertainment complex, retail shopping, hotel, conference center, parking garage and restaurants.

The new attractions would be funded by both public and private money, the bed tax, and from developing the land the city and county already own around the current stadium.

Historically, the Rays have struggled with attendance, but city officials feel the added attractions will bring more people and more retail revenue for the Rays.

The team, which has a spring training facility in Port Charlotte, has a contract with the city to play at the Tropicana site through the 2027 season, but are free to look elsewhere through Dec. 31, 2018.

Hillsborough County is also very interested in bringing the Rays across the Bay and the team has also considered other sites within Pinellas County.

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