Who is needed: You, and all other available fans of the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Seriously, spread the word, carpool, whatever you need to do to ensure you and your fellow fans are present.
What: A presentation of the ideas being out forth to the St Petersburg City Council for the Downtown Waterfront Masterplan, including the redevelopment of Al Lang into a new stadium. Attendee’s will have the chance to express their support or disapproval for different aspects of the proposal. Aspects of the proposal will likely be ranked as a direct result of the feedback given in this meeting.
When: Thursday, January 29 6:30 pm – 8:00pm. You can RSVP to the event on the Facebook event page created by Ralph’s Mob by following this link https://t.co/xNeMXfsj8L
Where: University of South Florida St. Petersburg Harbor Hall Gallery. 1000 3rd Street South, 33701
Why: This meeting is crucial because it is the last opportunity to make it clear that a new multiuse facility should be a priority in the St Petersburg Downtown Waterfront Masterplan that is scheduled to be adopted this summer. After Thursday’s meeting the proposal formed from all the feedback received will be sent to City Council where it will be used as a tool to formulate the official plan. At the moment a new stadium is part of the tentative plan to develop a new entertainment district on the waterfront. According to those who attended the most recent public meeting for the Waterfront Masterplan, the home stadium of the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer, PPL Park, is being used as an example of a waterfront multiuse facility. Anyone who lives in Tampa Bay, St Petersburg especially, knows how quickly things can go pear shaped for major projects once they enter the public input phase. Throw in the perception of soccer as a second class sport, usurping the long cherished tradition of baseball in the city, and the notion held by many that owner Bill Edwards is simply looking to extend his control of St Petersburg and things start to look tenuous. The past two months have certainly been encouraging for all fans, but now is not the time kick back and relax. Unfortunately we can’t afford to do that with the still precarious position of the sport in this country, the NASL’s position in the American soccer landscape, and this team’s location on the totem pole of Tampa Bay sports. Those opposed to the idea of a new stadium will make try to make Mr. Edwards the face of this stadium movement, and his connections in the city are undeniably beneficial to the Rowdies continued growth. But the odds are never in your favor if a multimillionaire is the public face of a movement to build a new stadium for said multimillionaire’s professional sports steam. So the fans needs to be the face of this effort. If Rowdies fans are concerned about the team’s sustainability then they need to show up in force to any and all public forums to passionately lay out the reasons why a modern multiuse facility at the Al Lang site is good for St. Petersburg, and the entire Tampa Bay Area. Credit where it is due. The “Not in my backyard” will always show up in numbers for their cause. It’s time for Tampa Bay Rowdies fans showing up to make the case for the club’ future in St Petersburg to become just as sure a thing.