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St. Pete Yacht Club Sailing Center is in trouble


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#1 tpabaysailor

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 05:44 PM

I was just talking yesterday with one of the guys who works at the st. pete yacht club sailing center about the proposed new waterfront baseball stadium for the tampa bay rays.

The city owns the land the center sits on, and leases it to the spyc. He is saying that if the rays go ahead with their new waterfront stadium plan the sailing center runs a huge risk of being lost forever.

#2 Dawg Gonit

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 06:11 PM

Make sure there is argument that the SP Sailing Center hosts lots of sailing events for people with access issues (Disabled People) Make sure this gets to the major news outlets because the Devil Rays and the City will not like the Negative publicity.

Hard to believe the city would ditch the place after spending a ton of money on accessible dock and ramps.

I'm not sure when I will ever get back out there but that was the place that introduced me back into sailing after I got hurt. It would be a shame for the pro-sports to push the most vulnerable aside.

#3 Great Red Shark

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 06:17 PM

Because, afterall, what you really need precious shoreline for is a stadium that's empty 80% of the time, not for access to the ocean....

#4 whattaride

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 06:40 PM

Tell us more about this. I can't see that the little bit of parking the stadium would get would be worth it. There is lots of parking by the airport.
Who or where do we find out more. I travel there a couple of times a year to sail one design and we do the NOODs and launch at the sailing center.

#5 sailingk8

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 06:53 PM

Because, afterall, what you really need precious shoreline for is a stadium that's empty 80% of the time, not for access to the ocean....

That was my first thought too. Dawg has a good angle for a valid argument if this is true. Keep us posted and let us know where we can get more info if anyone has it.

#6 tpabaysailor

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 07:17 PM

I think at this point it may just be rumors as far as what is going to happen. I do know that the major concern for the new stadium project is parking in the downtown area, and historically speaking marinas/boat yards/etc. seem to always make it to developers chopping blocks first.

The city is going to be putting the new stadium proposal to a vote this fall i believe, and lets hope that it fails. The area they are talking about hitting baseballs into the water would be the basin the sailing center sits on. Here is a little bit about the project:

ST. PETERSBURG - The Tampa Bay Rays are planning a $450-million stadium on the downtown St. Petersburg waterfront site of Al Lang Field.

The stadium, with about 35,000 seats, would be paid for primarily by the team, which would contribute about $150-million, along with the proceeds of the sale of development rights to Tropicana Field. The team hopes to attract a private developer to build a large retail/residential complex at the Tropicana Field site. The team also would seek as much as $60-million in future state sales-tax revenues, which would require approval by the Legislature.

"We are excited about the possibilities of these projects, and the economic benefits that they would bring to our community,'' Rays president Matt Silverman said at a late Friday night news conference at Tropicana Field. "We would certainly involve the public in any process related to this.''

St. Petersburg voters would need to approve the new stadium because it is public property. The city would attempt to sell the land to the county so it wouldn't have to pay property taxes. The Rays would ask for a longterm lease.

The new stadium would be open-air, but it could be covered with sail-like material on a cabling system. Some seating areas would be air conditioned.

The stadium would be built on the site of the longtime spring training stadium that the team is leaving next year.

The new stadium would be positioned so that balls hit over the right-field fence would splash into the water, similar to the Giants stadium in San Francisco.

#7 Crabtown

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 07:55 PM

balls hit over the right-field fence would splash into the water, similar to the Giants stadium in San Francisco.


Isn't that pollution of the bay?

#8 usasail

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 11:09 PM

Below is a link for the group opposing the new construction. SPYC currently is in year one of their 5 year lease of the property. The City of St. Pete only allows a max of 5 years on any of their properties. The new stadium would be filling in part of the basin by the sailing center in a protected seagrass area which will cause them many enviro issues. It would be a shame for the city to lose this property and possibly the sailing center.

I will find some e-mail addresses that we can throw some Anarchy up the City and the Rays asses.

http://www.stpetepoww.com/

#9 HHN92

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:03 AM

Any ideas of re-locating the sail center to the other side of the basin?

Also, with the adjacent marina slips, which host ive-aboards, I doubt they could over-run the area too much. Also, I would think there are plenty of local power brokers who are members of the club to help block wiping out the sailing center.

Why do they need a new stadium for anyway? The Trop is only 20 years old, and was highly upgraded when the team moved-in. The Ray's win a few games and all of a sudden they need a new stadium?

#10 jibeset

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:21 AM

compared to modern stadiums it is pretty old. I hope that they can figure something out.

#11 DryArmour

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 01:34 AM

I was just talking yesterday with one of the guys who works at the st. pete yacht club sailing center about the proposed new waterfront baseball stadium for the tampa bay rays.

The city owns the land the center sits on, and leases it to the spyc. He is saying that if the rays go ahead with their new waterfront stadium plan the sailing center runs a huge risk of being lost forever.


Look for the silver lining in this cloud. If the Sailing Center is in the first of a five year lease agreement then see what their timeline looks like for the proposed stadium. You may find that rather than losing a sailing center that might be on the mediocre side, you could wage the access issue, the at risk kids that you introduce to a different way of life and youth access that is helping keep kids off the streets. With all of this in mind you leverage a new sailing center built by the Devil Rays maybe using their name "The Devil Ray Sailing Center" (I kinda like the sound of that) and using Devil Ray club funds to acquire a permanent home for the center and a long term endowment. To take it a step further the Devil Rays could help pay for the sails for the club boats and those sails could carry the Devil Ray logo as an advertisement for the team. Nothing like hitting the prime demographic on the water with 30' billboards that are mobile and free of billboard restrictions...

Just a thought.

#12 Luke Piewalker

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 08:48 AM

All I can say is prepare to be shat on from a great, great height...

#13 cheapshacht

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 11:53 AM

Look for the silver lining in this cloud. If the Sailing Center is in the first of a five year lease agreement then see what their timeline looks like for the proposed stadium. You may find that rather than losing a sailing center that might be on the mediocre side, you could wage the access issue, the at risk kids that you introduce to a different way of life and youth access that is helping keep kids off the streets. With all of this in mind you leverage a new sailing center built by the Devil Rays maybe using their name "The Devil Ray Sailing Center" (I kinda like the sound of that) and using Devil Ray club funds to acquire a permanent home for the center and a long term endowment. To take it a step further the Devil Rays could help pay for the sails for the club boats and those sails could carry the Devil Ray logo as an advertisement for the team. Nothing like hitting the prime demographic on the water with 30' billboards that are mobile and free of billboard restrictions...

Just a thought.


Great idea, DA. Certainly a win-win proposition you've laid out on the table. I'd hate to see the sailing center go by the wayside. Although I don't live in the area, like many others, I've been to my share of St Pete NOOD's, and the SPYC is a class act, both on and off the water. Given it's rich history, I would think that the SPYC would have the political pull and the backing of some power brokers to convince the Devil Ray's to abandon the proposal to annex the sailing center or, at the very least, to adopt a solution such as the one you've proposed.

Good luck St Pete!!

cheap

#14 sailwriter

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 12:14 PM

Most of us who live in St. Pete don't want a stadium across from the Sailing Center due to the crowding, lack of parking, blocking of the west wind.
But using scare tactics may be counterproductive.
I ran the Sailing Center for 13 years (1987-2000). It is a first class facility and operation. It has been upgraded in the past few years to be the premier disabled sailing facility bar non anywhere. The City of St. Petersburg has no plans to make it go away. They flaunt the facility, use it in promo material, show it on all the event's maps. It would be political suicide to threaten it.
The "sea grass bed" that has to be filled to make a roadway around the bay side is nothing but a sand bar. In 1986 a brush with a hurricane washed copious construction sand down the storm drain and out the big outlet into the basin. Instead of 6-feet deep, it is about 18-inches at low tide out there, a little deeper on each side. I put a bouy at the end of the bar to warn sailors in 1987. That bouy is now over 10-feet from the end of the sand bar.
Others have warned of a natural spring that would be impacted. The spring is near the entrance of the basin, far away from any fill that would go from the end of the fountain, angled to end across from the first SPSC hoist. We can't sail there anyhow.
No, I think any new stadium should be where it is easier to access from Tampa and Clearwater, not farther and more difficult. Besides, they took the Devil out of the Rays this year.
Dave Ellis

#15 radicalmove

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 08:47 PM

Sailwriter/Dave is probably best able to answer this, but isn't the lease for the
St. Pete YC tied to their participation in some form with the Sailing Center. I
thought there was some clause about this. So if the Sailing Center goes away,
will SPYC have to come up with another facility or lose their lease. If so, it could
put a lot of important people on the side of the Sailing Center.

#16 sailwriter

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 09:31 PM

The location of SPSC was the St. Petersburg Junior Yacht Club from 1921 to about 1976 when the railroad pulled out and sold the island to the City. The Yacht Club figured it was all over so they bought a nice parcel on the water a couple miles north on Snell Isle. Happily, the City approached SPYC with the proposal for the city to build the facility and the YC to run it, with the proviso that membership be open to everyone in the vicinity. This has traditionally been the five-county surrounding area, plus SPYC members. The City approves the dues amount, so it is modest.
SPYC still owns the Snell Isle Marina. But it is being surrounded by condo and development.
It must be noted that baseball season is the very opposite time of year as sailing season. We are upside down here. All of our regattas are fall, winter, early spring. Rays don't play in October (yet.)
So the only impact would be the summer kids' sailing program. Imagine the cry of protest against stopping that popular activity.
Hey, maybe the sailing center can collect five bucks a car during games and add it to the coffers of this very expensive program and facility, all financed by St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

#17 sailwriter

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 09:42 PM

The St. Petersburg Yacht Club, located a block from the Sailing Center is not leased from the city. Many years ago the City was close to bankruptcy. They approached the YC with the proposal that SPYC pay for the land. ($250,000 as I recall, a lot of moola in those days.) So the land and new building are owned by the Club.
The Sailing Center is tied to a written Agreement. It can be cancelled by either the City or the YC with very little notice.
I think the City has a great deal here. The other facilities like baseball fields, tennis courts, city golf courses, all are under the Department of Leisure Services. So is the Sailing Center. But, unlike all those other places, the City does not have to pay to keep it up, staff it, organize it. The City does major things. For example, since 1977 the roof has been replaced, air conditioner replaced, some of the big overhead doors replaced and the lot paved, once each. The expensive upgrades to make the facility fully disabled accessable were paid for from the fund that is produced when people park in handicapped parking spaces without a permit. About half the fine goes into a fund to make public buildings accessable and SPSC got a good chunk for rest rooms, docks and ramps.
This is such a good deal for the City that any angst is premature, I think.
Dave Ellis




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