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ST. PETE OFFICIALS CAN'T MEET THUNDERDOME DEADLINE
Published April 5, 1995
The future of baseball in Tampa-St. Pete has become uncertain as officials in Pinellas County now say they "couldn't meet an April 30 deadline even if they decided to increase tourist taxes to help outfit the ThunderDome for baseball." As reported yesterday, renovations to the Dome will reportedly cost at least $40M. City officials will "probably" get $20-25M from a "special state sales tax fund," which leaves officials "scrambling" for the rest -- and Devil Rays Owner Vince Naimoli "hinting" he could relocate the team. After a meeting yesterday between team and city officials, County Commissioner Steve Seibert said they could not vote on raising the county's hotel bed tax, which would cover about $20M, before May 16. Other county officials claimed they were not aware of the April 30 deadline and criticized Naimoli for "waiting until this week to publicize" it. Siebert said team officials would have to ask the MLB for an extension (Neusner and Moncada, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/5). MLB Expansion Committee Chair John Harrington: "I believe the deadline is very hard, not that it can't be varied. They have to get the commitment on that. I can't say there's any room for negotiations there" (Topkin, Seaton & Davey, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/5). In Orlando, Mike Zizzo speculates that a recent joke told to Naimoli by Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood -- that the cities' rivalry may continue since Orlando still has plans to build a "brand-new, baseball-only, open-air stadium" -- "may have left Naimoli with an option" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 4/5).