African-American Pastors Weigh in on Tropicana Field Site

Several of St. Petersburg's most prominent African-American pastors are showing their support for one of the two finalists for the re-development of the Tropicana Field site. The pastors are enthusiastic about Sugar Hill, saying they're confident about the company's ability to deliver economic results to Black residents. "This is the kind of caliber of company that desires to come alongside St. Pete, and say to St. Pete 'we are not here to take from you, we are here to bring something and add value to you," one pastor said.

The pastors even traveled west to get a tour of the company's projects. Kevin Johnson, NBA All-Star and former mayor of Sacramento, is one of the firm's principals. He says Sugar Hill is ready and able to talk to the Rays.

The pastors say Sugar Hill's leadership is more diverse.

Local leaders have called for developers to make sure black residents benefit from the project, since a historically black neighborhood was removed to build the ballpark. Former Mayor Rick Kriseman endorsed the other finalist, Miami's Midtown development, but current Mayor Ken Welch hasn't made a choice yet. .

photo: Getty Images

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