With Oldsmar’s pursuit of the Tampa Bay Rays becoming more official in recent weeks, some council members called for a survey to be conducted in order to gauge resident’s thoughts on the idea. (Graphic courtesy FSA, Inc.)
As the City of Oldsmar’s pursuit of the Tampa Bay Rays enters a more official stage, some City Council members have called for a survey to be created in order to gauge residents’ thoughts about the potential move.
During the latest council meeting on Tuesday night, Eric Seidel mentioned an anonymous email officials received that apparently emphasized the shortcomings of the plan to build a mixed-use complex, including a 30,000-seat baseball stadium, on 120 acres of vacant property west of Tampa Bay Downs.
Oldsmar City Council member Eric Seidel.
Seidel said in light of the message, he believes it might be a good idea to take the temperature of the community in regards to the Major League baseball team’s potential relocation to town.
“I think it would be interesting if we did some, not drawn-out real expensive survey, because there’s a lot of inexpensive options,” Seidel, who earlier in the evening relinquished the title of vice-mayor to Dan Saracki, said during his Council Comments.
“But just to get the feedback from the citizens, it would be nice if we had something to hang our hat on.”
Mayor Doug Bevis, who has been the key figure behind the drive to bring the team to town, said while they had considered adding a survey to the FAQ packet that is being created to present to potential partners, he doesn’t believe a standard ‘yes-or-no’ type of survey would be beneficial in this case.
Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.
“My only concern with that is there’s so much information that goes along with (it), it’s not just if you want them yes or no,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many dozens of times I’ve talked to people over the years and especially in the past year where they say no, you can’t do that. But once I try to explain the bigger picture…talk about the traffic issues, talk about all the issues, it’s not just a simple as, ‘do you want the Rays?’”
“So I agree with you, but I don’t know how you do it.”
Seidel didn’t disagree with the mayor, but he stuck to his suggestion.
“We don’t have much information out there now,” he said. “But once we have that information out there, I think it makes sense.”
Other council members, however, agreed with the mayor.
“I think it depends on what you’re talking about,” Jerry Beverland said, echoing Bevis’ concerns.
Oldsmar City Council member Gabby Mcgee.
“I think at the end of the day, you’re elected as a City Council member to represent the people, and the citizens chose you to make those tough decisions,” Gabby McGee said, adding, “it could be a good idea, but it could be premature until everyone understands the infrastructure and the costs.”
At the conclusion of the discussion, no consensus was reached as to whether the city should conduct a survey on the stadium issue or not.
After the meeting, Mayor Bevis reiterated his desire to continue to wait and let the process unfold.
“I don’t know about surveys,” Bevis said by phone. “They can be good if the baseline information is good. But people really need to know the bigger picture.”
“We definitely want to get the pulse of the community,” he added, noting anyone is free to email the council with their thoughts about the proposal.
“Obviously, if the constituents know the whole picture and they don’t want it, so be it. But this has been in the news for the better part of a year, and the opposition has been minimal.”
How do you feel about the city conducting survey about the potential Rays move? Is it a good idea or bad? Let us know in the comments below.