@MandaGator is back with another guest spot for us. This month she's talking about two ideas she has for solutions to the Rays stadium saga. After you read the article, please vote in the related poll at the bottom of the article.
Courtesy: water-technology.net (Click image to enlarge)
I propose a man-made island in the geographic middle of the ACTUAL Tampa Bay. (Palm Jumeirah is a prime example) It would be named "Isla Rays Republic" (duh) and would be built in the shape of the Rays sunburst logo with a retractable roof stadium being at the center.
The stadium grounds would be the only actual permanent "island" with the 7 sun rays being moveable barges containing a variety of Florida type attractions. Those could include a traditional carnival style theme park with rides, an amphitheater for concerts and shows, an aquarium and a water park. The remaining 3 sun ray barges would provide a hell-pad and bulk receiving dock, a boutique hotel and an adult evening venue in the style of Universal Orlando's Citywalk . Other shopping & dining options would be integrated throughout Isla RRs attractions.
To access Isla RR water taxi's would be available from locations surrounding the bay alleviating traditional parking woes. Additionally, each of the 7 movable barges would have dock & marina facilities which many pleasure boaters & fisher folk would enjoy.
There are many practical and environmental concerns which would need to be addressed with the creation of Isla RR there fore as an alternative, I suggest that Tropicana Field could be upgraded.
For those coming from out of town, who aren't familiar with downtown St Pete's one-ways and dead end streets ease of access continues to be an issue. Thus first and foremost, highway access to the current location must be tweaked!! Paving lot 2 and adding a second level which would have a ramp directly accessing 275 would help to ease local street traffic. While at it, add another level to lots 6 & 7 with direct access to 175.
As to the facility it's self I say strip it!! Bring it down to the bones! Then blow the top off! Install a retractable roof! Upgrade every nook and cranny! Make the seats a couple inches wider, escalators too! Do everything just a tad more posh than other stadiums do. Use porcelain soap dispensers instead of stainless steel and use premium products in them!
Open up the outfield! The BBQ & party deck is nice but the green wall reminds me of another Green Monster we all love to hate! Instead build a long bar and booth seating that allows more patrons to enjoy the concessions while overlooking the the field instead of the current concessions that pull you from the game. The current location of the ray tank would form the south end of the BBQ bar and would transform to a hot (cold?) tub available to Rays patrons when not rented to a private group.
South side of the press level could be an oasis of luxury suites unlike any other! Each suite would consist of three congregation areas, the first being in the location of current press level seating. Big cushy comfy chairs, larger monitors, walls insuring privacy from the adjoining suites would be incorporated in the "traditional" seating area of the the luxury suite. The current recessed suites would be expanded to encompass the current walk way/mezzanine. A private kitchen and bar would be necessary as would a private rest room w/ full shower and exit to the pool. What?? PRIVATE POOL?? Read on...
The third aspect of the new luxury suites would push the experience over then edge! What corporation wouldn't want to sponsor a luxury suite that includes a private lush courtyard with an outdoor plunge pool which encompasses the Florida lifestyle?? As expected, each suite would be accessed by private elevator. The usual concierge services would be available and everyone would live happily ever after.
I've just given two shining (?) examples of what a random fan with a broad imagination can come up with off hand however my point isn't to propagate either of my whimsical ideas. My point is that if I can come up with two (somewhat) valid ideas, does that not magnify the absurdity of our current government & Rays administration's inability to do so??? Let's hope for some progress as Mayor Bill Foster meets with Stuart Sternberg on the 17th!