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With the Devil Rays playing their inaugural season at the Thunder Dome's Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, a "handful of new businesses are popping up on the main drags surrounding the hulking Dome," according to Kris Hundley of the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES. The business owners "are hinging their hopes on the start of major league baseball on March 31." Hundley: "Despite the enthusiasm of these entrepreneurs, the lure of big bucks has hardly sparked a gold rush in the area. Empty lots and rundown garages sporting 'For Lease' banners still dominate what might be considered prime territory around the Dome. No big hotels or major restaurant chains have nailed down sites in the neighborhood." Hundley also profiled four of the new businesses around the Dome (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/2).
IU Public Affairs professor Mark Rosentraub contributes an op-ed in the N.Y. DAILY NEWS under the header, "Let Yanks & Mets Pay Their Own Way." Rosentraub: "[W]hen the emperors from these baseball dynasties come calling for your taxes, look carefully at their clothes. They're naked when they predict an economic development return on your dollar" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/3)....Bears President Mike McCaskey recently "made the rounds" with gubernatorial candidates to talk about a new stadium. A source "familiar with" the talks: "In one breath, he's appealing for help at City Hall to get the two year Soldier Field lease extension he needs to [give him time to] build a stadium in the suburbs. In the next breath, he's feeling people out about McDome. He's all over the map" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/1)....The development of "The Peak Experience," a $30M "mega sports village" being planned for a 133-acre area in Canton, CT, is examined by Michael Greenwood of the HARTFORD COURANT. Modeled after New York City's Chelsea Piers, the proposed facility would include a multi-story golf driving range, soccer fields, running track, retail areas, and "several" restaurants. The project is being spearheaded by Simsbury-based Timothy Ellsworth and Richard Correia (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/3).