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Mr. Mayor and St. Pete Chamber please tell us how the Ray Hines deal is best.

Dear Mayor Welch and St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce:

Question 1: You have stated publicly that the Rays/Hines deal for the Gas Plant site will “increase prosperity” and be a catalyst for economic growth for the City of St. Petersburg. If so, can you please tell us how much more money the city is going to have by doing this deal compared to the amount the city would have if it developed the 86 acres without the Rays?

And please don’t tell us the property cannot be successfully developed without Hines or without a new stadium. We all know the Gas Plant site is probably the largest piece of land in the U.S. that is prime for development with all the explosive growth around it. Developers would be standing in line to develop it if it were available and would pay for the land at its true value - probably at least $600 million more than what Rays/Hines propose to pay.

Question 2: What are the next 10 years' priority projects that are not in the current budget, and for each one what is the cost and your plan to pay for those projects? I am told that at least one of them is $700 million needed for stormwater and other water improvements and that at the current rate of funding it will take more than 70 years to get them all done.

I believe the answer to both is that no one has, nor can they articulate responses because in the case of Question 1, there are not facts that can demonstrate increased prosperity, and in the case of Question 2, there is no list of the priority projects, their costs, and how they will be funded. But I may be wrong.

I think that before such a monumental deal is made, probably the biggest deal the city will ever do, there should be answers to both questions and they should be provided to the residents of St. Petersburg.

So Mayor Welch and St. Petersburg Chamber - can you let us know? Thanks.



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