Oldsmar makes short list of potential Pinellas home for Rays

Pinellas County Commissioners recently unveiled a list of 10 potential sites for a Tampa Bay Rays stadium, and the City of Oldsmar was one of the finalists.

The Tampa Bay Rays are looking for a new stadium, and Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis wants his city to be in the mix.

According to a recent report, Oldsmar made the list of 10 locations in Pinellas County that could be home to a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.

When we first reported Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis’ desire to see the Tampa Bay Rays make his city their new home back in February, he admitted his wish was a long shot.

But he also said he just wanted Oldsmar to be mentioned in the conversations surrounding the impending relocation of St. Pete’s Major League Baseball club.

“The intent of the meeting was to bring awareness to the idea, because the objective is to keep the team in the Tampa Bay area,” Mayor Bevis said of a sit-down he and City Manager Bruce Haddock had with a key official in the team’s relocation effort.

“Our objective is to make sure Oldsmar is in the conversation,” he added. “If there’s a short list, we want to be on it.”

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

Last month, the first part of Bevis’s wish came true.

The Pinellas County Commission in late July released a list of 10 potential stadium sites in the county, and Oldsmar was indeed on the short list.

“I said all along all I just wanted to have our city in the conversation when it comes to a new stadium location,” Mayor Bevis told Oldsmar Connect shortly after the list was revealed.

“Obviously this doesn’t mean we are going to get the team, but it means the people who are making the important decisions on this issue think we have a viable location for a stadium here in Oldsmar.”

The location the mayor is referring to is a large parcel of vacant land on Racetrack Road opposite Tampa Bay Downs.

This Google Maps screenshot shows the area of a potential Rays stadium in Oldsmar, to left of the Tampa Bay Downs racetrack.

This Google Maps screenshot shows the area for a potential Rays stadium in Oldsmar across from Tampa Bay Downs.

According to the results of a report conducted by a trio of local departments and organizations, the 88-acre parcel fits the criteria the team has required for a potential relocation site, including regional connectivity, accessibility, size and geometry and development readiness.

In the past, Mayor Bevis said the site should be attractive to the team due to its accessibility to Hillsborough and Pinellas County, the rapid growth the city is currently experiencing, as well as the potential to develop additional surrounding features, such as parking and restaurant and retail establishments, on the property.

“People laugh when I say I want to bring the Rays to Oldsmar, and then they think about it and they go, wait a minute, that’s not a bad idea!” Bevis said back in February.

Despite the vote of confidence, the mayor understands it’s a long shot to bring the Major League ballclub to town.

But at least his city is on the list.

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