My research on the Midtown neighborhood in Atlanta argues that when planning and urban development efforts fail to recognize the fragility of queer spaces, there can be serious consequences for the viability of LGBTQ spaces. In Atlanta plans for high-end redevelopment along the Peachtree corridor took precedence over longstanding LGBTQ bars on the street and explicitly excluded the adjacent Midtown gayborhood from influencing the redevelopment process. As interest in redevelopment in the Midtown area heated up, Midtown lost many gay and other queer residents who moved south and east in search of more affordable spaces further away from the Midtown “sun.”
In general, there’s no evidence that cities need sports teams to thrive—especially sports teams that are struggling. If Rays ownership wants a new stadium then it should be up to them to find a way to pay for it. Tampa officials and residents, along with taxpayers in surrounding Hillsborough County, should resist the Rays overtures.